Delhi prepares for flooding as Yamuna breaches danger level; heavy rains in Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand kill 35

  • The breaching of danger mark by River Yamuna in Delhi prompted authorities to evacuate low-lying areas on Monday

  • Heavy rains in Himalayan states of Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh have claimed 35 lives so far

  • In Jammu, an Indian Air Force helicopter rescued four fishermen who were stuck in swollen waters of the Tawi river

The breaching of the danger mark by River Yamuna in Delhi prompted authorities to evacuate low-lying areas on Monday. Meanwhile, several parts of north India — including Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand — dealt with the consequences of heavy rainfall.

A Delhi government official told PTI that Yamuna was flowing at 205.36 metres, just above the danger mark of 205.33 metres. The water level is expected to rise further as Haryana released 1.43 lakh cusec water at 6 pm on Monday, the official said.

Earlier on Monday, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal outlined the severity of increasing water levels in Yamuna and urged the people living on the floodplains and low-lying areas to move to safer places.

Haryana has released 8.28 lakh cusec water in the Yamuna on Sunday evening which is expected to reach Delhi in next 48 hours", he said at a press conference. Traffic movement on Old Yamuna Bridge (popularly known as Loha Pul) was closed by the administration in view of the situation.

The press briefing was held after the Delhi chief minister held a meeting with ministers and top officers to assess the situation and reviewed arrangements.

He told mediapersons that Haryana released a record 8.28 lakh cusecs water in the Yamuna on Sunday.

 Delhi prepares for flooding as Yamuna breaches danger level; heavy rains in Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand kill 35

People living in low lying areas along the banks of Yamuna shift as water level of the river rises after the release of water from Hathnikund Barrage, in New Delhi. PTI

Till the evening, over 2,000 temporary shelters had been set up, where food, water and other amenities were being provided by government agencies.

The river was flowing at 205.2 metres in Delhi at 3 pm. Haryana released 1.87 lakh cusecs water at 2 pm on Monday and 1.79 lakh cusecs was discharged from Hathnikund barrage at 3 pm.

The Yamuna flows through six districts of Delhi whose low-lying areas are prone to flooding. The administration has deployed 30 boats to prevent accidental drowning.

35 dead in Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand

Heavy rains battered the Himalayan states of Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh, claiming 35 lives so far and leaving many stranded.

Three more people lost their lives in Himachal Pradesh, where torrential rains over the weekend have caused floods and landslides, destroying houses, damaging water lines and leaving hundreds of people stranded. With this, the toll climbed to 25 on Monday and the weather office has forecast that the rains will continue till Tuesday.

The incessant rainfall for the last two days damaged water pipes and hit supplies in Kangra district, an official told PTI. He said the water supply lines were being restored but it may take two or three days.

The scale of devastation caused by heavy rains in Uttarakhand's Uttarkashi district unfolded on Monday with the recovery of more bodies from different villages, taking the toll to 10, while six people were still missing. Several houses and hectares of agricultural land were washed away as rains hit more than a dozen villages in Mori block of Uttarkashi which borders Himachal Pradesh in the early hours on Sunday.

Search and rescue operations, which were hampered by bad weather on Sunday, resumed on Monday amid relatively clear weather in the affected area with three helicopters including one from the IAF pressed into service to take relief material including food packets and essential medicines to people.

"Ten bodies have been recovered from rain-hit areas of the district so far while six are still missing," Disaster Management Secretary Amit Negi and IG SDRF Sanjay Gunjyal said at a joint press conference on their return from Arakot where a base camp has been set up with communication facilities to monitor rescue operations.

Four bodies each were recovered from Makudi and Arakot while one each was recovered from Tikochil and Sanel, Gunjyal said. However, six people are still missing from the affected villages of the district.

Contact has been established with people in around half a dozen affected villages while efforts are on to reach six more which are likely to have been affected by rain-related incidents like cloudbursts, landslides and inundation by swollen rivers, Gunjyal said.

Flood-like situation in Punjab, Haryana

A flood-like situation prevailed in many parts of Punjab and Haryana, where the IAF rescued nine people from flooded areas.

Punjab chief minister Amarinder Singh on Monday announced Rs 100 crore for emergency relief and rehabilitation measures in the flood-hit regions of the state.

The announcement came after he toured the affected Rupnagar district to assess the damage where he spoke to the people impacted by the flooding. "We are committed to taking swift action and will work on restoring to normalcy at the earliest. Priority is to save lives of people who are affected by flooding," he told reporters.

He said once the flood waters recede 'special girdwari' (revenue survey) will be ordered to assess the damage caused.

The authorities had ordered closure of schools on Monday in Rupnagar in view of the flooding in many parts of the district. The meteorological department said no heavy rainfall was reported in most parts of Punjab and Haryana on Monday morning.

In Jammu, the Indian Air Force (IAF) rescued four fishermen who were stuck in swollen waters of the Tawi river.

They were stranded on a concrete platform at the bottom of a pillar of an under-construction structure to create a lake at Baghwati Nagar. The air force was called after state disaster response force and police personnel failed to reach the fishermen.

Meanwhile, Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis announced a slew of measures — like loan waiver for farmers and rebuilding of damaged houses — for the people affected by floods in the states.

Addressing a press conference, Fadnavis said a committee will ascertain causes for the unprecedented floods and suggest measures to avoid their recurrence.

"Farmers who have lost agricultural crops spread over more than one hectares due to the floods will be eligible for loan waiver," he said.

The state government will also pursue (with the Centre) its demand of offering relaxation in terms of filing Income Tax and GST returns in the flood-affected areas.

Heavy rains and floods battered several areas of western Maharashtra and the Konkan region earlier in August, with Kolhapur and Sangli districts bearing the maximum brunt.

With inputs from agencies

Updated Date: Aug 19, 2019 20:58:49 IST