India

As Yamuna continues to swell, displaced families complain of zero relief

Many families constructed their own shelters on the roadside in Shakarpur pushta after they had to abandon their shanties.

New Delhi: As the water level in Yamuna was expected to hit a five-year-high of 206.6m on Tuesday, complaints poured in on Monday about several people, living in shanties near the river’s flood plains, not receiving any relief. Dozens were found to be living on roads in makeshift shelters.

Chief minister of Delhi, Arvind Kejriwal, on Monday morning directed state revenue minister Kailash Gahlot to visit the affected areas. “Directed Kailash Gehlot ji, minister-in-charge, to visit the area along with all officers and ensure proper arrangements (sic),” tweeted Kejriwal.

After Gahlot reached the low-lying areas with senior officials and revenue department, several people started complaining. Kamal Singh, a slum dweller living in the floodplains near Gandhi Nagar market, alleged: “The water level is rising. Yet till now we have not received any help from the government. What made the situation worse was that the power supply was disconnected for a long time on Sunday night,” reported Hindustan Times.

“While those who were not yet affected by the rising water have been brought to government shelters, we are yet to receive any help despite the floodwater reaching our doorsteps. There are no tents for us to move into,” an elderly woman told the daily.

After hearing the complaints, Gahlot said: “I have asked the officers to make arrangements for all those who have been affected by the flood waters within an hour. Extra tents would be set up if required.”

A senior official of the revenue department, however, said tents had already been put up, but as they were at a distance from where they stayed, slum dwellers have been reluctant to move.

“Soon after the minister’s visit, at least 18 camps were set up in around the Gandhi Market area. People who were still living in the floodplains have been asked to shift here,” the revenue department official said.

Many families constructed their own shelters on the roadside in Shakarpur pushta after they had to abandon their shanties in the low lying areas of the floodplains.

“There are dozens of families who have refused to move. They said that they would move only after the water enters their homes,” said an official.

However, those who had already shifted to relief camps, said they were being provided with all basic amenities.

“We are being served with food at least three times a day. Mobile toilet facilities, drinking water and electricity are all there in the tents. Out cattle have also been given space at the far end of the camp site,” said Dhruv Kumar, a farmer. Kumar, who lived in a shanty in the floodplains opposite Gandhi Nagar market, has moved to the camp with his five children, wife and brother, reported HT.

Yamuna has never swollen this high since 2013, when Delhi last encountered flood-like situation. In 2013, the water level touched 207.3m.

According to Delhi government’s estimates, around 10,000 people have been evacuated so far and at least 1,149 tents have been set up, when the river’s water level touched 205.8m at around 9 pm on Monday. Around 8,600 people are living in tents set up by the government.

While traffic was suspended on the Old Iron Bridge since Sunday night, train services were hit on Monday morning after services had to be redirected and suspended temporarily.

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