Delhi’s Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal urged residents of the city’s low-lying areas to leave immediately as the Yamuna River swelled to a record-breaking level on Wednesday, breaking the previous record of 207.49 metres set in 1978.
In the midst of worsening floods that have forced thousands of people to flee their homes and markets near the river for safer areas, Mr. Kejriwal made the appeal. The Delhi police restricted public gatherings and movement in the city’s most vulnerable areas in response to the dire situation.

In a press conference, Mr. Kejriwal addressed the situation and emphasised, “We have to protect lives and properties. It is necessary to evacuate residents of low-lying areas near the Yamuna River.

The Central Water Commission’s (CWC) flood-monitoring portal reported that the water level at the Old Railway Bridge crossed the 207-meter mark at 4 am on Wednesday for the first time since 2013 and had further risen to 207.71 meters by 4 pm.

Mr Kejriwal turned to the centre for assistance, urging them to intervene to prevent the rising levels of the Yamuna. In a letter to Union Home Minister Amit Shah, he proposed that if feasible, the water from the Hathnikund barrage in Haryana should be released in a controlled manner.

“The news of flood in the capital of the country will not send a good message to the world. Together, we will have to save the people of Delhi from this situation,” said Mr Kejriwal, pointing out that Delhi is set to host the G-20 Summit meeting in the coming weeks.

Updating the public via Twitter, he had posted earlier, “Central Water Commission predicts 207.72-meter water level in Yamuna tonight. Not good news for Delhi. There has been no rain in Delhi the last two days. However, levels of Yamuna are rising due to abnormally high volumes of water being released by Haryana at the Hathnikund barrage. Urge the Centre to intervene and ensure that levels in Yamuna don’t rise further.”

Revenue Minister Atishi said the Delhi government is strengthening river embankments and evacuating people out of the floodplains.

The flood situation has also prompted the Delhi Disaster Management Authority to issue an advisory, urging individuals to relocate to safer locations and avoid traversing low-lying region.

However, the government’s assurances have been met with criticism from flood victims. “It’s poor people like us who are suffering… The government makes false promises but does nothing on the ground. We don’t get anything,” a resident at a relief camp told news agency PTI.

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