Four people die in Kashmir windstorm


Srinagar : Four people were reported dead due to the high velocity gale that hit the Kashmir Valley late Friday evening as the state capital bore evidence of its ferocity with disrupted power and phones, blocked roads and signboards blown away.

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Three people were crushed under falling trees in northern district of Kupwara, Divisional Commissioner Kashmir Basharat Ahmed Dhar said, adding another, a Bihari labourer, was killed in Uri town. At least 14 people were also injured.

The divisional commissioner said that rooftops of many houses and school buildings in many areas were also blown off.

The metrological department here said the storm that had its origin in Pakistani Kashmir blew at the speed of 74 km per hour and continued for two hours with the same intensity.

The high-speed winds brought life to a standstill in the entire Kashmir Valley and created panic.

The electricity and communication network in the Valley was disrupted. Power development department (PDD) had to snap power supply as the winds uprooted trees and electric poles blocking many roads in the Srinagar city.

The city began returning to normalcy even though the PDD authorities cautioned that the power supply restoration would take some time.

"We are working on the war footing measures to restore electricity but I fear due to severe damage to electric poles and wires, the restoration work will take little over two or three days," said Khwaja Nisar Chief Engineer PDD. "We are trying to immediately restore power to essential feeders supplying power to important installations including hospitals."

On Friday evening, around 250 tourists enjoying boat rides in the world famous Dal Lake were rescued after they got stranded in the lake due to strong winds.