Two Amarnath pilgrims killed, 7 missing after cloudbursts rain on Baltal

New Delhi,July 25: Cloudbursts damaged the Amarnath Yatra route in north Kashmir's Baltal area on Friday night and left two pilgrims dead, nine injured and seven missing. Hundreds of pilgrims have been evacuated from the route so far.

The cloudbursts struck late on Friday night in Sonamarg's Baltal area, 90 km north of Srinagar. The Baltal route, a 14-km trek to the Amarnath shrine and the shortest route, was hit at three places between Baltal Gate and Rangamor.

The army's quick action team has started rescue operation in the area.

So far two bodies have been recovered. They have been identified as those of Pooja (13) and Vikram (12), both residents of Rajasthan.

As many as 780 civilians and 15,000 pilgrims have been shifted to safer places. Seven missing persons have been identified as Maiser Ahmed, Anil Sahu, Ashaq Sahid Mir, Reyaz Ahmed, Mushtaq Ahmed, Ramdevi, and Fayaz Ahmed Mir. Two among the missing are non-locals.

A vast area of Baltal was flooded with slush and water. Dozens of vehicles, including those used by pilgrims, were buried by landslides. At least 12 shops were washed away.

Srinagar-based army spokesman Col Brijesh Pandey said army engineers have reached the spot to assess the situation. The district administration has started a massive operation to trace the missing.
On July 16, multiple cloudbursts hit the same mountainous region and left two people dead. A large area was affected by the cloudburst and landslides at that time too.


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