Indian-Americans offer food, shelter to California dam evacuees

Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg
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Washington– Several gurdwaras in Sacramento, California’s capital city, have come forward to offer meals and shelter to the evacuees of Yuba City, which consists of a sizable number of Indian-Americans, following fears of Oroville Dam collapsing.

Some 188,000 residents, including around 20,000 Indian-Americans, in the River Valley below the Lake Oroville Dam, 65 miles or about 104 km north of Sacramento, were ordered to move away from their homes on Sunday when one of two damaged spillways appeared in danger of imminent collapse from severe erosion, American Bazaar online reported on Monday.

Yuba City has an estimated population of 13 per cent Punjabi-Americans and evacuation was ordered for parts of Yuba County, including Hallwood, Marysville, Olivehurst, Linda and Plumas Lake.

Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg

Yuba County Office of Emergency Services posted an evacuation order on Facebook: “Yes, an evacuation has been ordered. All Yuba County on the valley floor. The auxiliary spillway is close to failing. Please travel safely. Contact family and friends. Help the elderly. Take only routes to the east, south, or west. DO NOT TRAVEL NORTH TOWARD OROVILLE!!!!!”

Operators of the dam prepared on Monday to shore up a crumbling emergency spillway with bags of rock while bleeding off excess water from the rain-swollen Oroville Lake to ease the threat of inundating the northern California communities under evacuation orders downstream.

Several hours later, the situation appeared less dire as water levels subsided behind the dam, which ranks as the tallest in the US, and the weakened unpaved hillside spillway beside it remained largely intact.

“Sikh temples in Sacramento offering Food & Shelter. They are open for ALL people evacuated from Yuba City #OrovilleDam #OrovilleSpillway,” tweeted social activist Harjinder S. Kukreja.

Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg tweeted that people could take shelter in gurdwaras situated around the area and there are arrangements for meals too.

Dr Gurtej Singh Cheema, a physician and a local Sikh activist, said that they were prepared to help the residents evacuating the Yuva County area. “We’re well prepared,” Cheema told the Huffington Post.

The gurdwara is one of the closest for residents leaving Yuba City. “We have meals, shelter. We can accommodate at least 50 people here,” he said.

Cheema said that they have already received three families and several more called to apprise of their arrival. (IANS)


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