The Yamuna in Delhi has risen to an all-time high of 208.6 meters today, three metres above the danger mark. So far, over 16,500 people living in low-lying areas have been evacuated as flood fear grips Delhi.
Delhi is now on extreme flood alert with water levels of Yamuna River at an all-time high of 208.6 metres. The swollen river has submerged low-lying areas, prompting evacuation measures. The city may also face a drinking water problem as three water treatment plants have been shut down due to flooding.
The Central Water Commission has called it an “extreme situation” as the water flow into Yamuna is expected to rise even further by 3-4 pm today.
SCHOOLS SHUT, WFH FOR OFFICES
With the Yamuna swelling to a staggering 208.6 metres, the government has decided to extend the closure of non-essential government offices, schools, and colleges until Sunday, July 16. Additionally, private establishments have been strongly advised to implement work-from-home policies during this period.
Furthermore, commercial establishments in the vicinity of Kashmere Gate have been asked to close their operations until Sunday.
In terms of transportation, buses destined for the Inter-State Bus Terminal (ISBT) will be diverted to the Singhu Border as a temporary measure. The Delhi Transport Corporation (DTC) will be operating additional buses to ferry people to their destinations.
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal said efforts are on to reduce the water levels and restoration work will begin in two days. Notably, the Delhi Secretariat housing offices of Kejriwal, his cabinet and other senior bureaucrats, was flooded on Thursday.
DRINKING WATER CRISIS
Delhi may also face a drinking water problem as three water treatment plants in Wazirabad, Chandrawal and Okhla have been closed due to flooding. The water level in Yamuna was 208.6 metres at 1 pm today as Hathnikund barrage in Haryana continues to release water into the river.
WATERLOGGING, TRAFFIC JAMS
Waterlogging has disrupted traffic movement on several roads, including in parts of the arterial Outer Ring Road. Traffic has been diverted to alternate routes, leading to massive traffic jams. The traffic police has issued advisories about restrictions and regulations on vehicular movement due to flooding.
Areas around the Monastery Market, Yamuna Bazar, Garhi Mandu, Geeta Ghat, Vishwakarma Colony, Khadda Colony, the areas around Neeli Chatri temple near Old Railway Bridge, Neem Karoli Gaushala and a stretch of Ring Road from Wazirabad to Majnu Ka Tila remain flooded.
The Geeta Colony crematorium, near the Yamuna River in Old Delhi, has also been closed due to flooding. The Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) has urged citizens to use cremation facilities at Karkarduma and Ghazipur cremation grounds instead.
WHAT ABOUT METRO?
The Dehi metro operation is normal except at Yamuna Bank Metro Station, which remains inaccessible. Trains are running at a restricted speed on Metro bridges.
“Due to the escalating water levels of the Yamuna River, the approach road leading to Yamuna Bank Metro Station is currently inaccessible. However, an interchange facility is available,” the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation said in a tweet.
“Entry and exit at Yamuna Bank Metro Station has been temporarily closed due to the rising water levels of the Yamuna River. However, the interchange facility is still available and services on the Blue Line are running normally,” it added.
Arvind Kejriwal, following an emergency meeting yesterday, said the administration is vacating waterlogged areas and sought the citizens’ cooperation for evacuation. As many as 12 teams of the National Disaster Response Force are on the ground for rescue work.
So far, over 16,500 people living in low-lying areas have been shifted to safer places at higher altitudes and embankments are being constructed in the low-lying areas to prevent the entry of floodwater in case the Yamuna’s water level rises further.
FACTORS BEHIND FLOODING
There are two major barrages on the Yamuna — Dakpathar in Uttarakhand and Hathnikund in Haryana, upstream of Delhi. There are no dams on the river and, therefore, most of the monsoon flow remains unutilised, resulting in floods during the season.
Continued rainfall in the upper catchment areas and saturated soil due to heavy precipitation in Delhi and nearby regions over the weekend have contributed to the sharp rise in water levels.
The water flow from the Haryana barrage is expected to start dropping from 2 pm onwards today but the India Meteorological Department has predicted heavy to very heavy rainfall to continue in Uttarakhand in the next two days, exacerbating the flooding risk.