Jammu - At least 25 members of Bakkarwal tribe, including women and children, were feared killed along with their livestock while several others are reportedly missing after unprecedented snowstorm in Kishtwar district, official sources today said.

Several nomad families at various migration routes in upper reaches of Kishtwar were reportedly missing since untimely heavy snowfall and rain struck the Pir Panjal mountain ranges last week, UNI said quoting a senior police officer who requesting anonymity.

As per official assessment, over 4,000 cattle, including goats, sheep, horses, cows and buffaloes, have been killed due to a turbulent weather on May 27, 28 last month in inaccessible high reaches of Warwan, the officer said.

"Exact number of people killed in this natural disaster in Warwan area, which connects Kishtwar to Kargil (Ladakh area), could be known only after the administration teams reach the places,'' the officer said, asserting that it takes three days to reach the locations where the deaths of nomadic Bakkarwals have been reported and there is no telecommunication facility in the area.

"So far we can just say several nomadic families are missing as we have not been able to establish contact with them,'' the officer said.

According to reports, an entire dera (nomadic group) of at least 25 Bakkarwals, including women and children, which was halting at Jabba Nullah in Warwan area, has perished in snowstorm along with their livestock.

As the reports were yet to be verified officially, the state administration was observing silence over the loss of human life and livestock due to turbulent weather in upper reaches in Jammu and Kashmir.

On receiving information, the district administration dispatched two teams of 15 members each to the affected area under the leadership of Dy SP (Operations) Kishtwar and Assistant Commissioner (Revenue), the officer disclosed.

The teams would launch rescue operation and assess the losses due to natural disaster, the officer said, asserting that exact situation will also be clear after the officials reach the affected locations in Warwan.

"We have also received reports of some casualties from Amiya Gali, Gora Batta, Nanansar, Ropadi Dharhal Pass, Gumar Nallah, Drubgam Nallal, Batwat Nallah, Sukhnai, Krish Nallah, Ditch Nallah, Friyabad, Inshan, Asti Nallah and Minjal Nallah in the area, the officer said.

Officer, however, said locating bodies of deceased wont be possible due to 3 to 5 feet snow in the area.

NGO, Tribal Research and Cultural Foundations secretary Dr Javid Rahi said several families of nomadic Bakkarwals and Gujjars were reportedly trapped in inaccessible upper reaches of Pir Panjal. We request government to immediately conduct aerial survey of affected areas and help save lives of trapped nomads in Kishtwar, Dr Rahi said, estimating loss of livestock over 10,000.

Not only Kishtwar, but the higher reaches in other districts of the state also witnessed heavy snowfall and rains, and there could be more casualties, an official said.

Army has also launched rescue and relief operations for the affected people in remote areas of Kishtwar, Yesterday, a joint relief column comprising Army doctors, civilian veterinary doctors, police personnel and officials from the District Headquarters were airlifted from Kishtwar to Warwan.

The team carried along with them sufficient quantities of medicines both for the deras as well as their livestock, Defence spokesman Lt Col Biplab Nath said, adding the army team will undertake simultaneous relief work in Warwan and Navapachchi areas for the next four to five days.