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Thursday, September 23, 2021

As Yamuna swells, those on the riverbanks scramble for shelter

At 7 pm, the level of the Yamuna, measured at the Old Railway Bridge, stood at 205.56 metres, above what is considered the flood 'warning mark' of 205.32 metres, officials of the Irrigation and Flood Control Department said.

Written by Abhinaya Harigovind | New Delhi |
Updated: July 31, 2021 7:03:57 am
The rising levels can be attributed to rain in the upper reaches of the Yamuna, leading to a heavy 24-hour discharge of water from the Hathnikund barrage on Wednesday. (Express Photo: Praveen Khanna)

With the water levels rising in the Yamuna because of incessant rain, people living along the floodplains in Delhi were being evacuated on Friday evening.

At 7 pm, the level of the Yamuna, measured at the Old Railway Bridge, stood at 205.56 metres, above what is considered the flood ‘warning mark’ of 205.32 metres, officials of the Irrigation and Flood Control Department said. The level has been rising since 6 am Friday, when it stood at 205.1 metres. Discharge of water from Hathnikund barrage in Haryana stood at 37,109 cusecs at 6 pm.

The rising levels can be attributed to rain in the upper reaches of the Yamuna, leading to a heavy 24-hour discharge of around 1,70,000 cusecs of water from the Hathnikund barrage on Wednesday, the consequences of which were seen in the past two days, officials said.

Beneath the Loha Pul, along the banks of the Yamuna, local resident Bijoli’s hut — the closest to the river in a line of 13 huts — sank into the rising water late Thursday night. The 50-year-old, who works as a domestic help in Chandni Chowk, anticipates having to forage for material to set up another shack once waters recede, but has managed to salvage her belongings.

Save for last year, the need to move to tents set up for them on higher ground around this time of the year is an annual affair, said 22-year-old Soni, who lives in one of the huts. Water has been rising in front of their homes since Friday morning, and the dirt track that leads to the row of huts has disappeared under pools of water. By night the area would most likely be submerged, she said.

Civil defence volunteers were present in the area in the evening, prepping residents to move to waterproof tents that would be raised, tentatively, at one end of the railway bridge. Sachin Jain, a volunteer, said that arrangements would be made for food and water for around 300 people from the area who would have to move to higher ground.

Meanwhile, the water level in the river at Hathnikund Barrage in Yamunanagar district, Haryana, has witnessed a significant dip in the past two days. The water level which had crossed the mark of 1.59 lakh cusecs at Hathnikund Barrage at 1 pm on Wednesday was down to 41,680 cusecs at 5 pm on Friday.

The water from Hathnikund Barrage takes nearly 72 hours to reach Delhi.

The Yamuna had breached the danger mark in Delhi in August 2019 after Haryana had released a record 8.28 lakh cusecs of water into the river from Hathnikund Barrage. Before this, the highest record for water in the Yamuna at the barrage was 8.06 lakh cusecs in June 2013.

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