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J&K: 15 Dead, Over 60 Injured After Cloudburst Triggers Flashfloods Near Amarnath Cave

Anees Zargar |
The Indian Army, which is part of the rescue operations for injured Amarnath Yatris in the cloud burst, said that a total of 28 pilgrims had been evacuated from the Holy Cave to Nilagrar.
Rescue operations by the national and the state disaster response teams and other agencies are underway.

Rescue operations by the national and the state disaster response teams and other agencies are underway. Image Courtesy: NDTV

Srinagar: At least 15 persons were killed and over 60 injured in flash floods Friday evening near the Amarnath cave in the mountains of Anantnag in the South Kashmir area. This was followed by a rescue operation by joint security forces to secure dozens of other missing pilgrims.

The 15 dead bodies were moved from Holy Cave to Advanced Dressing Station Nilagrar. The Indian Army, which is part of the rescue operations for injured Amarnath yatris (pligrims) in the cloud burst, said that a total of 28 pilgrims had been evacuated from the Holy Cave to Nilagrar.

"After stabilising, 11 have further been moved to SKIMS Srinagar in civil helicopters for treatment. Stranded yatris are being escorted by Indian Army personnel till Baltal since the track is slushy and slippery," Srinagar-based defence spokesperson Col Emron Musavi said.

He added that the search was carried out at daybreak at Amarnath Nar at Sangam for any possible casualties. According to eye-witnesses, the cloud burst, which occurred around 5:30 pm yesterday near the cave, triggered the flash floods that left many pilgrims running in helter-skelter. Many left their belongings to save their lives, while many were parted with their relatives and companions in the wake of the crisis.

Soon after the incident, the authorities carried out a rescue operation led by the Indian Army, Indian Air Force, National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), State Disaster Response Force (SDRF), Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) and others. The yatra has been temporarily suspended while the Jammu and Kashmir administration has set up a helpline for any assistance. So far, over one lakh pilgrims have paid their obeisance at the cave shrine while as many 8000 yatris had offered their prayers. The yatra is set to end on August 11.

On Saturday, the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) informed the media that about 150,00 people had been safely shifted by then.

"Most of the yatris who were stranded near the Holy cave area due to flash floods last evening have been shifted to Panjtarni," ITBP said in a statement.

The annual 43-day Amarnath yatra began on June 30 after two years. In 2019, the yatra was cut short in the wake of the abrogation of Articles 370 and 35A, which was followed by a suspension due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. The authorities in Jammu and Kashmir had announced this year's yatra to be historic, with the participation expected from over 8,00,000 pilgrims.

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