Yamuna recedes, fear of epidemics strikes Delhi

New Delhi, Jun 22 (IANS): The water level in the Yamuna has fallen below the danger mark of 204.83 metres in the capital, a government official said Friday. However, those evacuated from the river banks living in relief camps suffer the brunt of the blazing sun, and fear the spread of epidemic.

"The water level of the Yamuna now stands at 204.30 metres, which is below the danger mark of 204.83," Dharmpal, secretary in Delhi's revenue and disaster management department, told IANS.

The Yamuna river rose to 207.25 metres late Wednesday, the highest since 1978, when it had reached 207.49 metres.

Nearly 10,000 people have been evacuated so far from low-lying areas like Usmanpur, Yamuna Bazar, Bhajanpura, Shastri Park and Tibetan Market, and shifted to over 1,100 relief camps set up by the city government. The evacuation began June 17.

Meanwhile, more people from the city's south, central and the north districts were evacuated on Thursday night by authorities, as there were fears that areas near the river could experience flooding, as rains were forecast in coming days in Delhi.

In the last four days, 900,000 cusecs of water was released into the Yamuna from Hathnikund barrage in Haryana, resulting in a rise of the water level in the river in the national capital.

The 145-year-old double-decker rail-cum-road bridge over the Yamuna, which was shut for traffic for two days, was re-opened Thursday.

The heat and the possibility of the breakout of waterborne diseases like typhoid, cholera etc. has been troubling people in temporary camps set up by the government on sidewalks.

"The weather was fine earlier, but in the last few days, the mercury has been rising constantly. The heat is starting to become unbearable," said Om Dutt, as he sat inside a tent, made of a thin canvas sheet, near Mayur Vihar in east Delhi.

The receding river water has left behind stench, flies, mosquitoes and insects, which residents feel could cause spread of diseases.

"We are afraid that we could fall ill as the water dries up," said Kakuli Devi, residing in Yamuna Pushta.

However, the Delhi government had said Thursday that relief camps are being sprayed with anti-malaria medicines daily and families are being provided with chlorine to keep drinking water safe.


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