Avalanche kills 8 villagers, hundreds leave their homes

By Anastasia Tomazhenkova: At least eight people were killed and hundreds more were forced to leave their snowbound villages. Avalanches brought tonnes of snow in the Indian-controlled part of Kashmir.

A police deputy inspector general reported that 6 members of one family died when cascading snow buried their village home in India's Jammu-Kashmir state.

Police rescued a 2-year-old girl, also a member of the family, from the debris.

One woman died after an avalanche struck her village near the frontier dividing the Indian- and Pakistani-controlled parts of Kashmir. The woman's son and daughter were missing and feared dead.

Snow buried and killed a man in a mountain village in another part of Kashmir.

The village received about 3.3 meters (11 feet) of snow this week, and the army and police evacuated hundreds of people from the area to shelters in school buildings in safer places.

Officials reported that an avalanche killed a soldier and two civilians working for the army.

Frequent rain and heavy snow often trigger winter avalanches in Kashmir, which is divided between neighboring India and Pakistan and claimed by both. They have fought two wars over the territory since their independence from Britain in 1947.

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