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Weather clears in J&K, air links restored

Source: PTI
February 21, 2005 20:20 IST
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Jammu and Kashmir on Monday received a respite from snowfall after avalanches claimed about 100 lives since Saturday.

Air links were restored and authorities air-lifted essential commodities to the Valley, easing the ordeal of stranded passengers.

Indian Air Force planes and choppers carried out several sortiesĀ getting vegetables, milk and other essential commodities to the people.

Seventy-three people died in Qazigund area in Anantnag district since Sunday in avalanches triggered by the worst snowfall in the last 15 years, bringing the total number of dead to 99.

With weather clearing, Indian Airlines operated three flights from Srinagar.

The army launched rescue and relief operations in Nagni, Waltingo and Chitnar villages in Qazigund area where some 100 people are reported buried as avalanches hit the area.

Thirty-four bodies have been recovered in Waltingo and Nagni villages and six from Chitnar village in Verinag area.

Two bodies each were recovered from Panzgam and Lamand villages, officials said.

Aircraft and choppers, which ferried essential commodities to Srinagar from Jammu, returned carrying troops out of the Valley. The troops were proceeding on leave and were stranded due to the closure of the national highway, a defence spokesman said.

IAF also rescued 48 foreign tourists stranded in Ladakh area of Jammu and Kashmir, a top IAF official said.

"The army is constantly monitoring the situation in the affected areas. We are working closely with civilian authorities to ensure there is no loss of life or property," a spokesman said.

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