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Several huts buried under snow in Rafiabad

Pregnant woman ferried 4 kms on shoulders in Kandi area

Heavy snowfall left several huts buried under huge mounds of snow in Galibal area of Rafiabad in northern Baramulla district on Thursday, officials said.

Local residents said the officials concerned are unable to reach the spot to assess the situation due to continued heavy snowfall in the area.

Officials are trying to clear a parallel road to the area to start a rescue operation, they said.

According to a report, Galibal—a far-flung Kandi area in Rafiabad—witnessed massive snowfall since Wednesday evening.

On Thursday, some huts there reportedly came under mounds of snow, but there is no information about any casualties or other damages as of now, an official said.

“We are clearing a parallel road from Baramulla to Hajibal to reach the area. As of now there is no information about any casualties, but we anticipate there might be some casualties or injuries. However, nothing can be said with certainty,” said assistant engineer, mechanical division Baramulla, Tariq Ahmad.

He said teams of state disaster response force and army will start a rescue operation once the road is made accessible.

“Around five snow cutter machines are on job to make the area accessible,” Ahmad said.

Meanwhile, a residential house belonging to Bashir Ahmad Wani of Baba Reshi collapsed Thursday afternoon after its roof could not withstand the weight of huge mounds of snow, officials said.

No one was injured in the incident, they said, adding that the area witnessed more than three feet of snow since Wednesday evening “because of which there is no road connectivity”.

Meanwhile, heavy snowfall in Baramulla district disrupted normal life on Thursday.

The entire area is reeling under darkness while drinking water supply in most parts of the district was affected.

The upper reaches of the district are cut off from the headquarters, while very thin traffic movement was seen on roads Thursday due to accumulation of snow.

A report from Rafiabad said the area witnessed heavy snowfall since yesterday, cutting-off its upper reaches from rest of the Valley.

The authorities cleared the Baramulla-Kupwara highway but roads connecting villages and inner areas are full of snow and the road clearance machines have not reached these areas, said Aftab Hussain, a resident of Shutloo, Rafiabad.

In Kandi belt, more than a dozen villages are disconnected with the district headquarters.

Locals said the snow clearance machines have not been sent to the area, especially Chandoosa, Gewgaran, Gohan, Shirpora, Khodpora, Namblan and Pachhar.

A pregnant woman who developed labour pain Thursday morning had to be transported on shoulders on a four-km-long snow-bound treacherous terrain in a remote area of Baramulla to enable her to reach a nearest health centre.

The woman identified by officials as Begum Jan, wife of Lateef Ahmad Sood, is a resident of Goriwan Namblan, in Kandi area of Baramulla, which received more than three feet of snow since Wednesday.

 “It was a nightmare. It was snowing and difficult to balance ourselves with her (woman) on shoulders in deep snow,” said Sood.

Farooq Ahmad Sheikh, block medical officer at primary health centre Sheeri said an ambulance couldn’t reach the remote area due to bad weather.

“We received the patient midway and immediately sent her to PHC Sheeri where doctors referred her to Baramulla district hospital. She is absolutely fine,” he said.

A man died after a snow avalanche hit his residential house in Sanbradi Magam village in Kokernag area of southern Anantnag district on Thursday evening, officials said.

Heavy snowfall in Kashmir in the past two days has badly hit the delivery of health services as hospitals across the Valley grappled with breakdown of essential services while patients struggled to reach the health facilities due to closure of roads.

Source: Greater Kashmir