Swollen Yamuna claims one life, 5,000 evacuated

New Delhi, June 19 (IANS) A man drowned in the Yamuna river while bathing near its bank, while 5,000 people were evacuated from inundated low-lying areas along the banks Wednesday as water rose to an unprecedented 207.20 metres, the highest since 1978, a Delhi government official said.

The man who drowned was bathing near Majnu Ka Tilla on the banks of the river, and his body is yet to be traced, the official said.

In 1978, water level in the Yamuna had reached 207.49 metres; in 2010 it touched 207.11 metres, the official said, adding that the government had evacuated 400 marooned people.

Delhi Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit Wednesday visited the flood relief camps and asked authorities to set up more such tents for displaced people, and also provide bread and milk to the children in the camps.

The muddy, swirling waters of the Yamuna river flowed over the danger mark Wednesday, leading to the closure of the city's 145-year-old railway bridge, and forcing the evacuation of 2,000 families living along the banks.

The situation worsened after the highest ever amount of water - 8.06 lakh cusecs - was released from Haryana's Hathnikund barrage Monday -- an additional 3.38 lakh cusecs was released Tuesday morning.

Keeping in view the rise in water in the Yamuna, the government deployed personnel and resources for rescue and relief measures, the official said, adding that those evacuated were being accommodated in camps at different locations.

The administration is still making public announcements, and helpline numbers are being disseminated efficiently, the official said.

Matches