VIDEO: Cloudburst at Pahalgam en route to Amarnath shrine kills 13
The cloudburst happened around 5:30 pm, nearly 2 km from the Amarnath cave shrine. The army has deployed six teams, comprising 58 personnel, in the rescue operations. Two Advanced Light Helicopters are on standby for air evacuation from Panjtarni.
At least 13 people, including 11 women, lost their lives, and over 50 people are missing in a cloudburst at Pahalgam en route to the Amarnath cave shrine on Friday. Personnel from the NDRF, ITBP and SDRF personnel carrying out rescue operations. Initial reports had said that some people were missing after three langars, and some camps at the site were washed away due to the heavy water flow.
The cloudburst happened around 5:30 pm, nearly 2 km from the Amarnath cave shrine. A total of 38 people are being treated at nearby hospitals for injuries.
"The water flow increased suddenly within a matter of 15 minutes. The security personnel deployed there immediately began rescuing the people in the camps. Around 20-25 tents were washed away. Personnel from ITBP, NDRF, SDRF, Indian Army tried their best to evacuate as many people as people. Tents are being moved upward (closer to the hill shrine), and arrangements are being made to shift people there and provide them with food and medicines," ITBP spokesperson Vivek Pandey said.
"The yatra has been halted for now. If the water flow reduces and the weather improves, the pilgrimage will be resumed," he added.
The army has deployed six teams, comprising 58 personnel, in the rescue operations. Two Advanced Light Helicopters are on standby for air evacuation from Panjtarni.
Earlier in the day, the Jammu-Srinagar National Highway was shut down for vehicular traffic after heavy rains at six places in the Ramban district triggered landslides. The highway points that have been shut down are Mehaar, Cafeteria Mode, Chamba, Anokhifall, Kelamode, and Pantiyal.
The landslides have left over 100 vehicles, including some carrying Amarnath Yatra pilgrims, stranded at different points of the 270-km highway -- the only all-weather road linking Kashmir with the rest of the country.
Heavy showers lashed the Ramban sector around 4 am, Deputy Superintendent of Police (headquarters) Ramban, Pardeep Sain, who is also the yatra officer at Chanderkoot, said.
The annual 43-day yatra is currently underway from the two base camps -- the 14-km Baltal in central Kashmir's Ganderbal and the traditional 48-km Nunwan-Pahalgam in south Kashmir's Anantnag -- on June 30. According to officials, over one lakh pilgrims have offered prayers at the cave shrine so far. The yatra to the naturally-formed ice-shivlingam is scheduled to conclude on August 11 on the occasion of Raksha Bandhan.