Storm kills 1, damages 8,000 houses in J&K

Anil Raina
Posted On Wednesday, March 21, 2012 at 02:50:17 AM
Workers try to clear cables from an uprooted transmission tower in J&K
In Srinagar: A cyclonic storm, which started on Monday and continued on Tuesday, wreaked havoc in the Kashmir Valley, claiming one life and leaving thousands of people without power amid shattered rooftops, uprooted tree, toppled power lines. 
This prompted the Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) government to declare high alert. Chief Minister Omar Abdullah flew from Jammu to Srinagar in the morning to assess the damage caused by the storm.

A state official said the windstorm damaged over 8,000 houses. In Ganderbal district in north Kashmir, 50-year-old Muhammad Maqbool Magray died on the spot after a Chinar tree fell crushed his house. Nearly 20 people were injured due to the storm.

Most people in the valley preferred to remain indoors as strong winds reaching upto 70 km per hour left roadways strewn with debris. 

Rooftops of hundreds of homes across the Valley were blown away as school buildings, shopping complexes and boundary walls of many structures also collapsed.

Dozens of houseboats on the Dal Lake were also damaged. Police rescued over two dozen tourists from the lake. All the government district headquarters have been converted into emergency control rooms to meet any eventuality. 

Schools were closed on Tuesday as debris was being cleared, and downed power lines disrupted electricity supplies. An avalanche triggered by the recent rains on Monday had killed one man in Kashmir. 

State disaster management official Amir Ali said rescuers were searching for two other men missing since the avalanche had struck on Monday night near Gurez region.