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Deadly avalanches wreak havoc in Indian Kashmir

Dar Yasin / AP

A Kashmiri villager slips as he clears snow off the roof of his house in Gagangeri, northeast of Srinagar on Feb. 23.

AP Reports: Two massive avalanches in snowbound regions of Indian-controlled Kashmir killed at least 16 soldiers, and at least three others were feared trapped in a military camp that was partially buried under snow, an official said Thursday.

Farooq Khan / EPA

A Kashmiri woman gestures after her hut was buried under snow due to an avalanche on Feb. 23.

Col. K.S. Grewal said three of the soldiers were killed in the mountainous area of Sonamarg and 13 were killed at a large army camp in Dawar, a town close to the heavily militarized cease-fire line that divides Kashmir between India and Pakistan. Hundreds of thousands of Indian troops are stationed along this de-facto border. Both avalanches took place late Wednesday night, and state officials warned more may occur in mountain areas.

Dar Yasin / AP

Kashmiri Villagers inspect damage after an avalanche in Ramwari on Feb. 23.

Rescue workers in Dawar pulled out 13 survivors who were being treated at a local army hospital, Grewal said. Three soldiers there were still believed to be trapped under the snow, he said. Dawar, in the frontier Gurez region, remains cut off from the rest of Kashmir for nearly five months every year as heavy snowfall and rains block road links to the region.

Farooq Khan / EPA

A vehicle is burried under snow in Gagangeri, northeast of Srinagar, the summer capital of Kashmir in India on Feb. 23.

Dar Yasin / AP

Kashmiri villagers remove fallen trees as they search for belongings at the site where their homes stood, now buried in snow after an avalanche on Feb. 23.

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Petr Josek / Reuters

Winter has arrived with chilling force in many parts of North America, Europe and Asia.