M A I N   N E W S

Landslides, snow hit rescue work
Six jawans killed

Srinagar, October 12
Amidst fading hopes of finding survivors in the week-end devastating earthquake, troops raced against time today to reach inaccessible villages in Kashmir valley but their job was hampered due to overnight snowfall and landslides killing six Army personnel in Tangdhar.

Civil administration aided by the Army attempted to reach out to hitherto inaccessible villages but efforts to reach 10 inaccessible villages in Uri sector still remained unsuccessful due to inclement weather and difficult terrain, Chief Minister Mufti Mohammed Sayeed told reporters.

However, with some improvement in the weather later in the day trucks carrying relief material moved in to some of the worst affected areas where people scrambled to get whatever they could lay their hands on.

Hundreds of survivors from remote areas, still inaccessible by road, trekked several miles to reach Uri and some of its adjoining villages where relief supplies were available.

The Army has been in the forefront in providing relief supplies, including tents, blankets, woolens, food and medicines to the victims.

Heavy snowfall in the upper reaches of Tangdhar sector last night and rainfall led to massive landslides at many places, hampering the relief and rescue operations for some time, defence sources said.

Six Army jawans were killed early today when one such massive landslide washed them away in Tangdhar, defence spokesman said.

The death toll in the killer quake has touched 1340 and authorities fear the number may rise again as rescue teams reach remote villages.

Officials said the villages are located far from each other and the terrain is very inhospitable, the recovery of the bodies has been slow.

The Chief Minister said the state government had already acquired all tents available within the state, Punjab, Haryana and with the Army. “But, we are still short of the requirement,” he said.

“Almost all villages have been brought on communication link and relief material is being supplied to these areas,” Sayeed said.

The Chief Minister said 1195 civilians had lost their lives while 4373 were injured in the killer quake. Nearly 150 security force personnel including 71 Army jawans, seven BSF men, five policemen and 63 persons working for the Border Roads Organisation were also killed in the earthquake.

Meanwhile, the Army has already despatched 400 tonnes of ration and rehabilitation efforts were being intensified in view of the snowfall which was making it difficult for the survivors who had little with them to cope with the harsh weather, a defence spokesman said.

Describing the situation in north Kashmir as “critical,” he said about 100 tonnes of ration had been despatched to North Kashmir yesterday and 400 tents and 2,000 blankets were on the way.

Over 73,000 houses have been damaged out of which 42,750 have been completely destroyed, the spokesman said adding those houses which are not fit for dwelling would also be declared as destroyed after an inspection.


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