Thirty civilians trapped in twin avalanches in north Kashmir’s Kupwara district have been rescued by joint teams of the Army and Border Roads Organization (BRO), said a defence spokesman on Tuesday.
Divulging details of the incident, the spokesman said that amidst fresh snowfall and two avalanches, Indian Army and GREF of the BRO rescued 30 civilians stuck on Chowkibal-Tangdhar road (NH-701) on the night intervening 17 and 18 January.
As soon as the information of civilians getting stuck closer to Khooni Nala and SM Hill on National Highway 701 reached the troops at Nastachun Pass (NC pass), two rescue teams comprising avalanche rescue teams from the Indian Army and a team of GREF were mobilised for rescuing the civilians who were stuck in their vehicles.
Despite adverse weather conditions compounded by twin avalanches, 14 civilians were rescued and brought to Neelam and 16 civilians to NC pass, which is also commonly known as Sadhna Pass.
All the rescued civilians were provided food, medical care and shelter for the night.
Twelve vehicles were later retrieved during the day today post avalanche and snow slides clearance from the road. GREF played a difficult but stellar role in snow clearance amidst dangerous conditions. The entire effort took about five to six hours.
It may be highlighted that last year also civilians were rescued by the troops near Khooni Nala, closer to NC pass, as the area is prone to avalanches and snow slides. The Indian Army stands by its tradition of helping out the citizens during their hour of need, said the spokesman.
Meanwhile, it is worth mentioning that the weather department has predicted avalanches at several mountainous areas of J&K and Ladakh union territories (UTs). People have been advised not to venture out of their houses except in an emergency.