Despite rain forecast, people return to Yamuna bank

New Delhi, June 24 (IANS) Despite the forecast of more rain in the national capital, hundreds of residents of low-lying areas, who were shifted to relief camps after the swollen Yamuna dislodged them, returned to their homes, an official said Monday.

"This is something we can't help. They are taking their chances. We have advised them not to go back... but we cannot force them to stay at the relief camps. More rains are predicted. In all probability, they will have to return to the camps," Dharmpal, secretary in Delhi's revenue and disaster management department, told IANS.

In Usmanpur in east Delhi and other places along the Yamuna, people were seen going about their normal routines, after having shifted back to their homes. All those whose houses were destroyed by the flood have started rebuilding their homes.

"We don't have much of a choice. We are poor and we have to help ourselves," Lalita, 31, a homemaker based in a relief camp on a bund road near Mayur Vihar in east Delhi, said.

Volunteers working in relief camps say that although the water in the river has receded, returning to homes destroyed by the floods is not advisable. Snakes have been seen in the muddy water, and many children and women in the area have been indisposed with headache and fever.

"Though the river water has receded, going back is still not safe. The monsoon has just hit Delhi, and more showers are expected. The condition could worsen. It would be better if they just stayed back in the relief camps," said Manju, a volunteer with Civil Defence.

The Delhi government has been spraying anti-malarial chemicals daily in the camps to check mosquito-breeding. It has also been supplying chlorine tablets to help the residents clean drinking water.

Many low-lying areas in east and north Delhi were inundated by the Yamuna, whose water level rose to the 207.25-metre mark late Wednesday, the highest since 1978 when it reached 207.49 metres.

The 145-year-old double-decker rail-cum-road steel bridge over the Yamuna behind the Red Fort was closed to traffic for two days due to fears of damage by the river's strong current. The bridge was re-opened Thursday.


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