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Peerzada Ashiq, Hindustan Times
Srinagar, January 18, 2013
A major rescue operation is underway in a remote hilly terrain in south Kashmir's Kulgam district to retrieve at least 60 civilians, who are feared trapped in snow storm and slides triggered after heavy snowfall in the valley since Thursday evening.

Rescue work was started on Friday afternoon after locals SOSed district administration about trapped civilians in Kulgam's snow storm prone area of Waltengo, around 70 km south of Srinagar.

"A police team has been sent to rescue 60 civilians in avalanche-prone area of Waltengo," said Srinagar-based spokesman DSP Manoj Sheeri.

He said the Kulgam police have despatched a team of 30 personnel to the area where the police fear civilians are trapped.

On February 22, 2005, avalanches and mud slides killed 175 people in Kund and Waltengo Nar villages in Kulgam district. These villages are around 20 km away from Kulgam town and are housed at the foothills of Pir Panjal range. Many villages are situated in the crest of the mountain ridges, making them vulnerable to snow storm and avalanches because of slopes protruding from two sides making wind to whirl and trigger avalanches.

The district administration refused any casualty so far.