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Kashmir : 3 Indian soldiers killed in avalanches; floods kill 6 civilians

Authorities have issued an avalanche warning after fresh snowfall. Photograph: (Others)

WION Srinagar Apr 07, 2017, 11.17 AM (IST)

Three Indian soldiers died Thursday after avalanches struck their high-altitude army post in India's Kashmir following heavy snowfall in the northern Indian state.

Five soldiers were buried after avalanches hit the post in Batalik near the Line of Control -- the de-facto border that divides India with Pakistan in Kashmir, an army spokesman told AFP.

"We launched rescue operations and two were rescued alive. But this morning three bodies were retrieved from under the snow," Rajesh Kalia said.

Six people were also killed and two reported missing on Friday, after heavy rain and snowfall swept through state, setting off avalanches and turning mountain rivers into raging torrents, Reuters reported.

Helicopters were deployed to rescue people cut off by flash floods triggering memories of the 2014 floods when the Jhelum River caused floods in capital Srinagar submerging homes and led to the death of 200 people.

In Srinagar, some low-lying districts along the Jhelum were submerged in floods but residents told Reuters the river was starting to recede.

"We are relieved as the water level is receding and the rains are reducing," said one resident. "We are praying that rain should stop."

Water levels began to recede on Friday after a halt in the rain, officials told AFP.

In the Poonch region, an Indian Air Force helicopter was guided by a soldier holding a flare towards a group of villagers
stranded on the far bank of a river. They climbed a rope ladder into the craft, which then flew them to safety.

Rajiv Pandey, senior superintendent of police in Poonch, said 17 people were evacuated from the area.

Lower altitude areas have suffered heavy rains, prompting authorities to shut schools until Sunday and close the region's
main highway over landslide fears.

The winter has been particularly harsh to the Himalayan region. In January, dozens of people including Indian soldiers and civilians were killed in avalanches in the state.

Dozens of Indian and Pakistani soldiers are killed by avalanches almost every winter along the LoC.

(WION with inputs from AFP, Reuters)


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