At least five soldiers, who were trapped after the snow track they were travelling on caved in at the Machil sector of Jammu and Kashmir's Kupwara district on Saturday, have been successfully rescued and are currently undergoing treatment. The soldiers belong to 56 Rashtriya Rifles.
At least 14 soldiers lost their lives after two avalanches hit a military post and a patrol party in the Gurez sector of the state's Bandipora district on Wednesday. The avalanches hit in Neeru village close to the Line of Control in Gurez Valley's Tulail Tehsil area.
The Indian Army launched a rescue operation, following which seven soldiers were rescued. The rescue team also recovered a total of 10 bodies on Thursday, after which rescue operations were suspended due to extreme weather conditions.
Four more bodies were recovered after rescue operations resumed on Friday around 9 am taking the death toll to 14, the army said. Another soldier, who was injured, was taken to a hospital in Srinagar, superintendent of Police Bandipora, Zulfikar Azad told the Greater Kashmir.
"Eleven residential houses were damaged in Gujran village of Gurez due to heavy snowfall. Thirty families were also shifted from Izmarg and Khandiyal villages of Gurez to safer places as the areas are avalanche-prone," Azad added.
A shop was also damaged after a mild avalanche hit Zadgey village, while a post office and a residential house were also damaged in Tulail Tehsil's Baduaab village on Friday, the daily reported.
A spokesman of the Indian Army, in an official statement, condoled the death of the soldiers and said: "In two unfortunate incidents of severe avalanches in Gurez sector on 25th January 2017, the Army has lost 14 of its valiant soldiers. We pray for the gallant departed souls who braved all odds with exemplary commitment and dedication to duty and made the supreme sacrifice in the service of the motherland. Our hearts go out to the bereaved families and we pray to almighty to grant them strength to bear this irreparable loss."
"Concerted efforts of the specially equipped Avalanche Rescue Teams, which have continued despite the inhospitable terrain and weather conditions and further avalanche warnings, have led to recovery of mortal remains of all our comrades who were part of this patrol. Arrangements are in place to carry the mortal remains of the martyrs to their respective native places immediately on clearance of the weather conditions," the spokesman added.
An avalanche also hit an army post in Sonamarg in the Ganderbal district of the state killing one army officer and four members of a family.
Kashmir has been witnessing heavy snowfall since a few days, due to which "high danger" warnings of an avalanche were issued for avalanche-prone hilly areas of Kupwara, Bandipora, Baramulla, Ganderbal, Kulgam and Budgam and Kargil district of the Kashmir division, the Financial Express reported.
Deputy commissioners of Kashmir division, including Leh and Kargil, have been directed to take precautionary measures in their districts in view of the warnings. Citizens have also been requested to exercise caution and not venture out to areas prone to avalanches. They have also been asked to keep clearing snow deposits on the rooftops of their houses to prevent damage.
Power and communication lines have also been cut in a few areas, while several residents from avalanche-prone areas were evacuated, NDTV reported.