New Delhi evacuates hundreds over risk of flooding after record rainfall

Residents carrying their belongings on a rickshaw as they wade through a street flooded by the rising water level of river Yamuna after heavy monsoon rains in New Delhi, India, July 12, 2023. REUTERS/Adnan Abidi

NEW DELHI (Reuters) – India’s capital New Delhi on Wednesday, July 12, 2023, began evacuating hundreds of residents over the risk of flooding as record rainfall has swelled water levels in a river that runs through the city, its chief minister said.

The Yamuna River has already risen above the “danger mark” and submerged a few adjoining areas in the capital of 20 million people, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said, adding that the water levels had surged to a 45-year high.

On Wednesday, people living in makeshift houses next to the river put their belongings on bikes and tractors and moved to some of the 2,500 relief camps set up in the city.

“The water level is continuing to rise and there is a flood-like situation at present… it is likely to rise further,” Kejriwal told reporters as he asked those living near the river to evacuate their homes.

People living on the Yamuna’s banks waded along flooded pathways, with pets on their shoulders and pots and pans in their hands, and climbed a ladder to reach the top of a bridge as water levels swelled.

States near Delhi have received record rainfall so far this monsoon season that started June 1, with Punjab and Himachal Pradesh recording 100% and 70% more rainfall than average respectively, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) said.

At least 88 people have died in Himachal Pradesh since the rains began on June 24, ANI news agency reported. Flash floods in the state over the weekend brought down a bridge and washed away several clusters of residential huts.

Delhi too has recorded 112% above-average rainfall so far, according to the IMD. Barriers have been set up in the residential Civil Lines area, where some cabinet ministers including Kejriwal live, to prevent surging river waters from inundating the streets, a city government statement said.



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