The cold weather in Delhi has claimed more people in the last fortnight than various crimes. According to available figures, 10 homeless people have died due to the bone chilling cold in the last 15 days. During the same period, the Capital reported eight murders. The police said they are routinely directing homeless people to the 80-odd homeless shelters in the city.
"The weather in the last few days has gone from bad to worse. We have directed the senior officers to instruct their beat constables to help the homeless get to the night shelters," said a senior police officer.
In the most recent case, a body of an unidentified man was found near the ITO Bridge. The police said the man was wearing just a shirt.
Packed night shelters
The 80-odd night shelters in the city are witnessing maximum inflow of homeless people this season. According to NGO workers, it is becoming hard for them to accommodate the growing number of people coming to the shelters. There are more than 1.5 lakh homeless people in the Capital.
"We are managing 26 night shelters in different parts of the city and all of them are packed. On Monday night, the Fatehpuri night shelter accommodated around 370 people. We are trying to accommodate everyone and are also sending out volunteers to help people to other shelters as well," said Paramjeet Kaur, director of Ashrya Adhikar Abhyaan.
Number of deaths alarming: Police
The Delhi Police said the number of deaths in the city due to the cold wave during this period is the highest in the last three years. "Last year there were only four deaths during this period. This year we believe the falling temperatures have killed more people. Most of the deaths were reported from Old Delhi Railway Station," added the officer.
Other than giving out blankets, many NGOs are now providing homeless people with warm clothes to tackle this harsh season. Sweaters, jackets and shawls are some of the items being distributed among the homeless.