Tatsat Chronicle Magazine

Delhi Flood: Over 16,000 Evacuated As Yamuna Breaches Its Banks

July 13, 2023
Delhi Flood
Picture: NDRF Twitter

The Yamuna in Delhi breached the 45-year-old high-water mark on Thursday morning, inundating large areas in North Delhi and North-East Delhi. The some of the worst affected areas include the stretch from Kashmere Gate to Majnu Ka Tilla, Rajghat, Civil Lines, Wazirabad, Jamuna Nagar, Red Fort, and parts of Purana Quila, among others. This is the worst flood that Delhi has witnessed in more than four decades.

The Delhi Government declared closure of schools and offices and have asked the non-essential staff to work from home until Sunday.

The Indian Meteorological Department (IMD) has issued an alert that Uttarakhand will experience heavy rainfall for the next five days and has issued a red alert for the next 48 hours.


With more rain predicted, the flood situation in Delhi is likely to remain grim for the next few days.

By 8 am on Thursday, the river was flowing at 208.55 metres at the Old Railway Bridge, breaching the 207.49 metre mark set in 1978. As of 8 pm, the water level decreased slightly to 208.66 metres, but still flowed well over the danger mark of 204.5 metres.

Heavy rains in the past few days in Himachal Pradesh, which caused widespread damage to roads and bridges, and in Uttarakhand swelled up the rivers and nullahs (water drainage channels), discharging an enormous amount of water into the rivers like Yamuna, Ganga, Beas, Ravi, and Sutlej.

Due to the rising water levels, metro trains ran at a reduced speed of 30 kmph on the bridges across the Yamuna. Some of the stations, like Yamuna Bank, was shut down due to flooding of the approach road.


Over the past few days, the Hathnikund Barrage (HKB) in Haryana, which supplies water to Delhi, was forced to open all the gates to release the water pressure that had built up due to rivers overflowing in catchment area.

According to the South Asia Network on Dams, Rivers and People’s Twitter handle, on July 9, the HKB was releasing 1,90, 861 cusec of water by 5 pm. Though by 6pm on Thursday (July 13) the discharge rate had come down to 50,014 cusec, it remained way above the normal discharge levels. The normal discharge rate of HKB is 352 cusec.

According to news reports, mor than 16,000 people were evacuated from several low-lying areas of Delhi to safety. Right through Thursday, Delhi Police and the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) evacuated people trapped in the flooded areas.

Water supply in some parts of the city might be affected due to the closure of three water purification plants (WTPS) due to flooding. Operations at Wazirabad, Chandrawal, and Okhla WTPs were shut down as flood water gushed in.

Experts say such intense rainfall in the catchment areas of rivers is an indicator of climate change that they have been warning about for a long time now. Rising average temperatures are leading to heavier evaporation and condensation which when collides with the cold air on the Himalaya results in extremely heavy rain in the basins of the rivers. The sudden deposition of large amounts of water cause intense flash floods, which lead to Delhi-like flood in downstream areas.