Disasters & Accidents

Delhi seeks government help over flood fears as rains kill 41 in north India

(Update 1: updates with situation in Delhi)

New Delhi, Jul 12 (EFE).- Authorities in New Delhi on Wednesday sought help from the Indian government to tackle the growing water flow in the Yamuna river, which has touched its highest-ever mark and forced the evacuation of thousands of people following heavy monsoon rains that have killed dozens across north India over the past four days.

“The Central Water Commission predicts 207.72 meter water level in Yamuna tonight,” Delhi’s Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal tweeted, while the water had already crossed the all-time high level of 207.49 – registered in 1978 – by Wednesday afternoon.

This is “not good news for Delhi,” among the world’s most populated cities with around 22 million inhabitants, Kejriwal warned.

He recalled that the 1978 floods in the city had been very severe and affected tens of thousands of residents as a large part of the city was flooded.

Although Delhi has barely registered any rains in the last two days after witnessing a torrential downpour over the weekend, Kejriwal attributed the rise in Yamuna’s levels to “abnormally high volumes of water being released by Haryana,” a neighboring state that controls a key dam on the river.

The regional government chief urged the Indian ministry of home affairs to ensure that Haryana limited the release of water, reminding the government that the city was set to host the G20 summit in a few weeks and the flooding could become an embarrassment.

Authorities in Delhi have already evacuated thousands of people living on the banks of Yamuna, while schools remained have remained shut as a preventive measure.

At least 41 people have been killed over the past few days due heavy rains in different parts north India, officials confirmed Wednesday, even as the India Meteorology Department extended the weather high alert for several regions.

The northern state of Himachal Pradesh is the worst-affected so far with 31 deaths, Chief Minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu told reporters.

“Over 2000 stranded individuals in Kasol have been successfully evacuated as of now. Our teams are working tirelessly,” Sukhu tweeted, adding that landslides had complicated rescue works on highways connecting some of the most popular tourist spots of the mountainous state.

The acting director general of police in Himachal Pradesh, Satwant Atwal, told EFE that authorities had recovered 13 bodies just from the area surrounding Manali, while rains have continued in regional capital Shimla.

In neighboring Punjab, at least 10 people have been killed in rain-related incidents, the state’s revenue and disaster management minister Brahm Shankar Jimpa told reporters.

Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann announced aid for the flood and rain-affected people of the state on Twitter, adding that currently there was no further danger of rivers overflowing due to excess rain and causing more damage..

The IMD has maintained a high alert for heavy rains in parts of Himachal and the neighboring Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh, according to the latest weather bulletin.

Heavy rains cause significant losses of lives, property and infrastructure every year in South Asian countries, especially during the monsoon period between May and September. EFE


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