Three soldiers trapped in an avalanche in Jammu and Kashmir’s Batalik were found dead on Friday.
Multiple avalanches tore through Batalik sector on Thursday as the Valley reeled under unprecedented rain and snow that swelled rivers and inundated vast areas.
Two civilians are also missing after a vehicle they were travelling in skidded of the road and fell into a stream in Anantnag district. Five other passengers were rescued.
The administration declared floods in Kashmir’s summer capital Srinagar where the Jhelum’s water level rose alarmingly and shut education institutions for three days, officials said.
Kashmir experienced rare snowfall in April with vast areas blanketed in white due to the freak weather phenomemon.
An army spokesperson said the heavy snowfall triggered multiple avalanches, burying one post in the Batalik sector.
Two out of five trapped soldiers missing were rescued on Thursday. Specially trained and equipped avalanche rescue teams were deployed for the operations in the area.
Kashmir has seen devastating avalanches this year with fourteen soldiers swept away in Gurez, Bandipora and an army major in Ganderbal on January 25. Five more soldiers buried under snow on January 28 were pulled out alive in the Macchil sector of Kupwara. They, however, succumbed to their injuries two days later.
Incessant rains also forced closure of the arterial Jammu-Srinagar National Highway as the rains triggered landslides and shooting stones at several places along the 300-km road.
The Jhelum river, which had breached its banks in 2014, originates in south Kashmir’s Sangam area of Anantnag district. Then its passes through capital Srinagar and Asham in Bandipora before crossing into Pakistan.
Police also established emergency helplines across the valley.
“Police have put its men on high alert to meet any possible challenge and eventuality and has established emergency control rooms in all the districts of the valley to provide help to the people in need,” a police spokesman said.
According to the met department, Srinagar received 98mm rainfall, Kokernag 106mm in Kokernag and tourist resort Pahalgam 87 mm since Wednesday morning.