Yamuna starts receding in Delhi, still above danger mark

New Delhi, June 20 (IANS) The water level in the Yamuna started receding in Delhi Thursday but stayed above the danger mark of 204.83 metres. Many low-lying areas in the city also remained inundated, a government official said.

Many low-lying areas in east and northern Delhi were inundated following the rise in the level of the Yamuna river, which touched the 207.25 metre mark late Wednesday, the highest since 1978 when it reached 207.49 metres.

“The water level has come down to 206.32 metres at 7 p.m. today (Thursday). But it is still above the danger mark of 204.83 metres and is expected to drop below that only by tomorrow (Friday) evening,” Dharampal, secretary of Delhi’s revenue and disaster management department, told IANS.

Over 900,000 cusecs of water has been released into the Yamuna from Hathinikund Barrage in Haryana in the last four days, resulting in the river’s water level rising. A man drowned in the swollen river while bathing near Majnu ka Tila Wednesday, an official said.

The 145-year-old double decker rail-cum-road bridge over the Yamuna was shut down for traffic for two days due to fears of damage by the river’s strong current. The bridge was re-opened Thursday.

Nearly 5,000 people have been evacuated so far from low-lying areas like Usmanpur, Yamuna Bazar, Bhajanpura, Shastri Park and Tibetan Market, and shifted to over900 relief camps set up by the city government.

To prevent the breakout of any waterborne diseases like typhoid, cholera etc., the relief camps would be sprayed with anti-malaria medicines daily and families would be provided with chlorine to keep drinking water safe.

“In the flood-hit localities and relief camps, anti-malaria spray would be undertaken once in the camps, fumigation against mosquitoes once a day and chlorine bottles would be provided to flood-affected families to store drinking water and to keep it safe for drinking,” said a Delhi government official.

“To further spread awareness, pamphlets stating the preventions to prevent the outbreak would be distributed,” added the official.

Meanwhile, those residing in the camps said that the authorities had failed to come up with a well thought-out plan to tackle the crisis when they are aware that low lying areas get flooded each monsoon season.

“We know this happens every year and so does the government. Why can’t they swing into action on time? This will keep on happening every year with us,” Dharampal, 27, residing in a relief camp in Usmanpur said.

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