Government on war footing, sets up tents for displaced people
According to Kejriwal, the government had identified a total of 23,860 people who needed to be evacuated from the floodplains.Updated: Aug 20, 2019 01:04 IST
As the Yamuna’s level breached the danger mark and continues to rise, the city administration rushed to make all possible arrangements to prevent any loss of life and property.
Chief minister Arvind Kejriwal, after holding an emergency meeting on the issue, said in a press conference that as many as 2,120 tents would be set up to provide shelter and food to those evacuated from low-lying areas.
Until 4 pm on Monday, the city administration had set up about 809 tents and evacuated 5,620 people, government reports stated. By 8:30 pm, the count of the temporary tents had touched 1,000 and at least 8,000 were evacuated.
According to Kejriwal, the government had identified a total of 23,860 people who needed to be evacuated from the floodplains.
Despite setting up tents on a war footing, officials working on flood relief and rescue operations said the response was “very tepid”. “Our teams are working day and night to pitch the tents, provide food, water, mobile toilets and electricity to those evacuated. But occupancy remains as low as 60%,” said an official on condition of anonymity.
“Some of the remaining 30-40% people who were evacuated came to our camps today, had the lunch we offered and returned to their houses in the floodplains and other low-lying areas. Some argued the water level had not reached their doorsteps, while others claimed they can swim through it. We are engaging people and even locals to convince them to stay in these safe shelters and conducting night vigils,” another official said.
Government reports suggest the maximum number of tents have been set up in East and South East districts. The shelters in the north-east district had the highest occupancy. The Yamuna flows through six of Delhi’s 11 districts.
Revenue officials said 53 boats were at the government’s disposal, out of which 30 had been deployed for rescue operations. “Emergency medicines for water-borne and enteric diseases are being kept in reserve. Medical teams are deployed at all camps. Civil defence volunteers are also working at various sites,” said an official.
One tent can accommodate eight people. “We are trying that each family gets one tent of their own. Additional space and shelters have been created for cattle. We have all-female and all-male tents also,” the official said.
The Yamuna’s level breached the danger mark of 205.33 metres around 6 pm on Monday. Officials anticipate the water level could cross the 207m mark, a situation last encountered in 2013, by early Tuesday.
BJP MLA and leader of opposition in the Delhi Assembly, Vijender Gupta, alleged the Delhi government started its flood relief and rehabilitation programme “very late”.
“CM Kejriwal called the meeting only today afternoon when the flood situation in Delhi became grim. All the works happening today should have been initiated three days back. Due to his late decision, thousands of people are undergoing a rather dangerous experience,” he said.
First Published: Aug 19, 2019 22:26 IST