Race To Open Jammed Flood Gates As Overflowing Yamuna Halts Delhi

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As Delhi battles with severe flooding after the record rain, and the release of water from Hathni Kund Barrage in Haryana swelled water levels in the Yamuna, the weather office has predicted more showers for the national capital over the next couple of days. 

Light rain pounded several parts of Delhi yesterday as well. In the case of more rain in Delhi, experts say, the rainwater may overflow and take longer than usual to drain out. Waterlogging could worsen the situation further.

After breaching a 45-year record, the Yamuna which runs through the national capital, came down to 207.68 metres this morning even as several areas in Delhi remained flooded.

The river had reached 208.66 meters earlier this week, surpassing the previous high of 207.49 meters in 1978.

As roads turned into little rivers, the authorities continued the rescue work. Dogs and cattle were also among the evacuees. Visuals showed people being rescued on boats from areas where water is flowing at the chest level.

Some residents in the low-lying areas also complained of food scarcity.

Two task forces are also being moved from Meerut to Delhi, and will be kept on stand by to deal with contingencies.

Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said the work is on to open the five gates of Yamuna Barrage to help drain out floodwater. “The first jammed gate of the ITO Barrage has been opened. Soon all the five gates will be opened,” Mr Kejriwal said.

“The water level in the Yamuna is receding. The situation will be normal soon if it doesn’t rain. If it rains, then it may take a bit longer,” he said.

He also asked people to remain cautious and help each other. “The threat of flood is not over yet. The flow of water is very strong and the water level can rise anytime,” he said. 

The Army and the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) were called in yesterday as the water submerged key areas of central Delhi, including ITO and Rajghat. The road outside Hanuman Mandir, Yamuna Bazar, Geeta Colony, Civil Lines are also heavily waterlogged.

The floodwaters even reached the Supreme Court and some crematoriums in Delhi, including Nigam Bodh Ghat.

Three boys drowned while trying to swim in the floodwaters in northwest Delhi’s Mukundpur Chowk area. These were the first deaths reported in the city since the Yamuna water crossed the danger mark.

Over 4,500 traffic personnel have been deployed in affected areas to decongest traffic and help commuters, police said, adding, the traffic restrictions will be lifted depending on how fast the water recedes.

The city government has banned the entry of heavy goods vehicles, barring those carrying essential items, into the city from the four borders, including Singhu.

The Delhi Disaster Management Authority on Thursday directed that non-essential government offices, schools, and colleges be closed till Sunday.

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