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Windstorm causes havoc in J&K

india Updated: May 19, 2007 21:02 IST
Rashid Ahmad
Rashid Ahmad
Hindustan Times
windstorm

A strong wind and rain storm swept the Valley on Friday evening. Three persons were killed and around 20 others injured in the storm that also damaged 80 structures including 33 residential houses across the Valley. Apple orchards also suffered huge damages.



The hurricane swept the Valley at 80 km speed and continued for about three houses, shattering normal life. The power towers and pillars were overturned. The supply-lines were cut under the impact of falling trees, leaving the entire Valley without electricity.



In the capital Srinagar it was quite a chaotic situation with people running for cover. The traffic came to a grinding halt as the trees fell on roads. The Residency Road, which has mighty Poplar trees on its southern edge, was humming with frightening wind-shocks. Two mighty Poplar trees hit the roof of the office of a local Urdu Newspaper

Nida-E-Mashriq

, causing damage to it. The editor and employees of the daily had a miraculous escape.



Over 40

shikaras

are reported to have capsized in the Dal and Wullar lakes. Two persons, who were roving in their

shikara

in the Wullar lake, are missing. A team of Navy deployed in the lake has launched a search operation to trace the missing persons. Some houseboats also got damaged in the storm.



CRPF rescued 110 tourists, who were caught in the storm in the Dal lake. Police, in a separate incident, rescued nine tourists of Maharashtra from Lidder river in Pahalgam. The tourists were rafting in the gushing waters of the Lidder when their boat overturned. A police party launched an operation immediately and rescued them all.



Ghulam Hassam Wani, a resident of Lahtipora Rajwar in Handwara was killed when a house roof, ripped up by the tempest, fell over him. Tajuddin of Jharkhand was hit by a falling tree, causing his instant death. Abdul Rahim Darm, another resident of Handwara, also died when hit by a falling tin sheet from a house.



Reports said that around 20 other persons suffered injuries when hit by falling trees and collapsing houses in different parts of the Valley. Over a dozen houses and other structures were damaged in capital Srinagar's Batamaloo, Lal Bazar, Chanpora, Bagh-e-Mahtab and Nowgam localities.



The orchards, more particularly apple and cherry trees, were badly hit. Orchard owners say that the apple crop was fully damaged.



The authorities have geared up all their agencies to assess the extent of damage caused to the property and horticulture in the Valley.