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regular-article-logo Tuesday, 18 June 2024

Yamuna recedes but trouble mounts for flood-ravaged slum dwellers of Delhi

Battling the loss of property coupled with the absence of basic facilities, residents of the slum are making rounds of the district administration offices seeking something as fundamental as sanitation and electricity

PTI New Delhi Published 20.07.23, 12:17 PM
Chidlren sit near books kept for drying at a makeshift camp setup for the flood-affected people from the low-lying areas around the swollen Yamuna river in New Delhi.

Chidlren sit near books kept for drying at a makeshift camp setup for the flood-affected people from the low-lying areas around the swollen Yamuna river in New Delhi. PTI

Flood-ravaged slum dwellers at the Old Yamuna bridge are staring at a bleak future even though the Yamuna is showing a receding trend in the national capital.

Battling the loss of property coupled with the absence of basic facilities, residents of the slum are making rounds of the district administration offices seeking something as fundamental as sanitation and electricity.

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Shakuruddin, who spent every penny from his savings to buy books for his LLB entrance examination, is devastated as all his textbooks got washed away in the floods. "My father is a rickshaw puller and my mother works as a house help. I want to pursue law and had saved up to buy books for the entrance test. All my books and copies got washed away in the flood and that is my biggest concern right now," the class 12 government school student told PTI.

"My brother is in class 11. Even his bags and books got washed away. Thankfully, we were able to save our identity proofs and documents," he adds.

Shakuruddin said tents were set up by the administration on Tuesday after 10 families visited the district magistrate's office, adding that lights inside the tents were set up Wednesday morning.

"Two to three families are lodged in smaller tents, while four to five families are living in the larger ones," he said.

The Delhi floods have had a devastating impact with over 26,000 people being evacuated from their homes. The waters inundated key landmarks, roads, monuments and residential areas of the city. The estimated loss of property, businesses and earnings may run into crores.

"We are still facing troubles. How can so many families stay in a single tent? There are no washroom facilities yet. All of us are defecating in the open, what other choice do we have? Supply of drinking water is also insufficient," says another slum dweller Sabina (38).

Sandeep (40) has been living under the old Yamuna bridge for more than three decades. He fumes that no support came his way from the government until Tuesday. "Tents were finally set up Tuesday afternoon and today they have arranged lights here. But this help is coming after we suffered for around a week," he says. Lashing out at political leaders, a frustrated Sandeep said that the slum dwellers will boycott the next elections. "Nobody should come and seek votes from us next time. None of us from Seelampur will cast our votes. Every time we approach any leader, all they say is that 'this is not our area', then why do they come for campaigning here during elections? And how can they even have such thoughts of area divisions at a time of an emergency like this?" he rues.

"Political leaders have no compassion for us. They only talk big when elections near," he adds.

Staring at the long road to recovery, Sandeep says people like him with meagre incomes need a lot of money to fix the houses once the water recedes completely.

"The road to recovery is long. Most of our belongings got washed away because nobody came to evacuate us on time. We had to save our lives and had no time to move our furniture, clothes and ration," said Sandeep, who has a family of four.

He says the rainfall on Monday and Tuesday has only added to their trouble.

"The clothes and mattresses that we somehow managed to pull out of the submerged houses had almost dried up by Sunday when rain showed up again," Sandeep said.

The water level of the Yamuna stood at 205.8 metres at 6 pm on Wednesday, while the Central Water Commission (CWC) has forecast that the level will go down to 205.45 metres by 4 am on Thursday.

Bimla (52), a widow who is nursing a fractured leg, complained about the lack of washroom facility in the area despite multiple requests to the administration.

"I have been living in the area for the last 40 years, but never faced this kind of a situation before. There are two other families in my tent. There is uncertainty about food supply and the major issue is the lack of sanitation facilities," she added.

Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by The Telegraph Online staff and has been published from a syndicated feed.

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