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14.03.2014 12:17 News >> Heaviest Snowfall İn 15 Yrs İn Indian-Held Kashmir

Heaviest Snowfall İn 15 Yrs İn Indian-Held Kashmir

Snowfall kills 17 and damages 1,900 buildings.

At least 17 people were killed in Indian-held Kashmir and more than 1,900 buildings were destroyed due to the unprecedented heavy snowfall earlier this week. 

According to the Department of Meteorology, this week's snowfall was the heaviest they have recorded ever since they started measuring snowfalls 15 years ago. It caused avalanches and completely paralyzed life in the Himalayan valley. 

"At least 17 people have been killed and 1,922 houses damaged," Chief Minister of Indian-held Kashmir, Omar Abdullah said in Srinagar today, adding that the count to damage of property so far did not include those in the Jammu area which is currently being assessed. The government has released funds of INR 6.2 Crore ($100,000) to help the state meet with the calamity, he added. 

The freak snowfall began on the 10th of March after a previous week of sunshine and continued until the night of the 12th March causing serious damage to property and leaving the entire valley without electricity as electric poles overturned and wires snapped. 

The snowfall in the Srinagar city, according to the Meteorological Department, was more than two and a half feet, breaking previous records from 2007, and is by far the heaviest single spell of snow that has visited the Kashmir valley in 15 years.

"It is not completely unusual in Kashmir to snow in March, we have even had snow in April, but this amount of snow is quite something," said Farooq Ahmad Khan, Director of the meteorological department, India. 

Normal life, after remaining paralyzed for four days in the valley, started picking up again yesterday, but the highway that connects Indian-held Kashmir with India is still blocked, roads in the city are completely water logged, and snow is yet to be removed in several far-flung areas in the valley.

Schools in the valley which reopened last week after a three-month winter break are shut down again because of the snowfall.

by Zahid Rafiq

englishnews@aa.com.tr - İslamabad



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