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Amarnath Yatra: At least 10 killed in cloudburst near shrine

Amarnath Yatra: At least 10 killed in cloudburst near shrine

The cloudburst struck around 5.30 pm amid heavy rainfall, officials said.

Cloudburst took place near Amarnath cave. (Photo: India Today) Cloudburst took place near Amarnath cave. (Photo: India Today)

At least 10 persons were killed when a cloudburst near the holy cave shrine of Amarnath in south Kashmir Himalayas triggered flash floods Friday evening that also damaged 25 tents and three community kitchens, news agency PTI reported quoting police officials.

The cloudburst struck around 5.30 pm amid heavy rainfall, officials said. The gushing waters hit the base camp outside the shrine, damaging 25 tents and three community kitchens where the pilgrims are served food, they said.

Police and other civil administration have launched a rescue operation as some langars were affected by the gushing waters, the officials said.

Water came from above the cave after heavy rains in the upper reaches. The rain has stopped for now, informed Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP).

Five persons -- three women and two men -- were killed in the incident even as police, army and ITBP personnel launched a rescue operation, the officials said.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Prime Minister Narendra Modi expresses anguish about the #cloudburst near Amarnath cave in J&K; tweeted, "Spoke to J&K LG Manoj Sinha and took stock of the situation. Rescue and relief operations are underway. All possible assistance is being provided to the affected."

Further, Union Home Minister Amit Shah directed central forces and Jammu and Kashmir administration to ensure swift operations to rescue people affected in the cloudburst.

''NDRF, CRPF, BSF and local administration are engaged in the rescue work. Saving people's lives is our priority. I wish all the devotees well,'' the minister said.

PRO, ITBP informed that situation is under control, rains are still going on. Looking at the hazard level, the Amarnath Yatra has been halted temporarily due to the area being inundated. If the weather remains normal and makeshift arrangements are made, then the yatra can be resumed tomorrow.