Though the people of Kashmir have been assured that their tsunami of snow has passed—only moderate snowfall is predicted now—booming avalanches, which have taken hundreds of lives in their wake, continue to strike terror. Since the forecast is that avalanches will continue until the snow melts, the worst is not yet over.
Heavy rain and snowfall since February 6 have killed almost 500 people so far. Many have been reported missing, while others need serious aid. Such heavy snowfall—up to 15 feet in some places—had not been seen in the Valley for decades.
Avalanches are now sweeping away entire villages. On Wednesday evening, eyewitnesses saw a mountain of snow crumbling down on the Waltengo Nar village in the Pir Panjal. "It roared like 50 trucks and then there was no village," headlines quoted survivors as saying. Other villages struggled to survive.
While villagers are digging helplessly in the snow to find their relatives, aid is yet to reach many people. The damage to property and livestock is impossible to quantify at this stage. Survivors live in...