Srinagar, Mar 20: One person was killed and 17 others were injured as storms wreaked havoc in Kashmir Valley today damaging nearly 9,000 structures and throwing normal life out of gear.
Mohammad Maqbool Magray, a resident of Kangan in Ganderbal district, died after the branch of Chinar tree fell on him, an official spokesman said.
Seventeen other persons were injured in similar incidents in the rest of the Valley due to the high speed winds, blowing as fast as 30 knots, since last night, the spokesman said. Property worth crores of rupees was damaged by powerful overnight storms, he said.
He while 29 residential houses were destroyed, nearly 9,000 structures including 6,670 residential houses were damaged in the cyclone-like storm.
The severity of the weather condition forced the authorities to announce closure of all schools to ensure safety of the students.
Meanwhile, Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, who took stock of the damages, wrote on his Twitter page that the situation will be properly assessed once the winds stop.
“Reports still coming in of damage to homes on account of tin roofs blowing away. Will wait for the winds to ease before we get final number,” Omar wrote.
The Chief Minister said the power infrastructure was the hardest hit because of trees falling on supply lines.
“(Power Development) Department (is) working to restore (electricity). All but one major hospital has been reconnected,” he added on the microblogging site.
Power supply has been snapped as a precautionary measure as electricity poles have been uprooted at many places. Phone and power lines have also been snapped in many areas.
A large by number of people preferred to stay indoors to avoid getting hit by falling trees, poles, advertising hoardings and GI sheets flying off the roof tops.
Many tourists were evacuated from Dal Lake by Police as a precautionary measure in view of possible overturning of the houseboats due to the storm, officials said.
A group of tourists had a narrow escape when a tree fell on their hut in Pahalgam resort in south Kashmir, they said.