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Safety of women, children a cause of concern for those shifted to makeshift tents

Over 200 people have been shifted to the makeshift shelter erected by the local administration near ITO. Even though food and water facilities are available, people complained about lack of safety as the makeshift tents are located on pavements. Akhilesh (33), a farmer who has been living in the tent for the last three days, said he fears leaving his two children aged 3 and 6 years alone. He claims there are certain gangs who lift children from the streets. 

PTI PTI
New Delhi Published on: August 21, 2019 22:09 IST
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Over 200 people have been shifted to the makeshift shelter erected by the local administration near ITO.

Many residents of Yamuna ghat have temporarily moved to makeshift tents to escape the rising waters of the river, but they feel far from safe. 

While some of those evacuated expressed fears about child-lifters, many others raised concerns about lack of toilets and women having to bathe in the open. 

Over 200 people have been shifted to the makeshift shelter erected by the local administration near ITO. Even though food and water facilities are available, people complained about lack of safety as the makeshift tents are located on pavements. Akhilesh (33), a farmer who has been living in the tent for the last three days, said he fears to leave his two children aged 3 and 6 years alone. He claims there are certain gangs who lift children from the streets. 

"Either I or my wife are always alert. If I go to check the water level on the ghat, my wife remains with the children and takes care of them. At night, we have to be very careful, anyone could lift the children," he said. His wife Kiran said, "Children might get hit by vehicles while playing. So, there's a constant fear of accidents too ." 

A team from the Delhi Civil Defence has its volunteers at the tent area to assist the victims in case of any emergency. They work in four shifts starting from 6 am. The water level of the Yamuna started receding on Wednesday, but the river still continues to flow above the danger mark, an official said. While men managed to take a bath on the roadside, women complained about lack of toilet facility at the makeshift tents. 

"Men can go anywhere to relieve themselves but it is difficult for us women to go to isolated areas for the same. We have to cautious all the time because the tents are on the main roads," Sujata said. 

Prem Shankar (30), who shifted with his family on Tuesday evening, said, "Safety is an issue especially because the tents are on the main road. Also, it is extremely hot and there's no electricity or even hand fan. 

"We are managing to make our food with whatever utensils and materials we could bring while shifting. My brothers and I have not been able to go to the agricultural fields because they are inundated. I used to earn at least Rs 1,500 per day," Shankar added. Delhi Jal Board water tanks have been coming at least twice a day, so water is not an issue, according to occupants. 

"We can fill as much water as we can and this morning. The bread was also distributed and for lunch, we were served rice and aloo sabzi," said Vikas, who works as a labourer along with his brother Shankar on the rose fields. 

Some tents still remain vacant as many residents at the Yamuna Khadar have still not vacated their shanties, claimed the other occupants. 
"All we pray is that the water level should not rise further or we won't be able to return to our shanties. It will take us at least more than a month to resettle in that case," Itwari Lal said.

His grand-daughter Lali said she does not feel safe living there and going to the toilet is a major hassle as no facility is nearby. Somwati (60) said they have lost their crops as their agricultural lands are filled with waters. 

Nitesh (12), a class IX student of government school, is upset over missing his classes. However, if things are settled, Nitesh said he would be able to attend classes from tomorrow. "I somehow managed to save my school bag and textbooks of important subjects. I'm eagerly waiting to get back to my routine at the earliest," he added.

 
 

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