Thousands of people were evacuated from their homes in Delhi on Thursday after the authorities warned of widespread flooding following days of heavy rains that lashed large areas of northern India.
The level of the Yamuna river, which flows through the Indian capital and is a tributary of the Ganges, on Thursday broke the so-called danger mark by three meters (about 10 feet), according to the Central Water Commission. This forced the capital’s chief minister, Arvind Kejriwal, to close schools and convert them into disaster relief camps.
Many migrant workers who live on the banks of the river were camping on the roads next to it when their temporary homes were swallowed by the water. Many others sought shelter as water engulfed sections of residential areas and historic sites such as the Red Fort. So far this monsoon season, officials said, landslides and flash floods have claimed at least 91 lives in six northern Indian states near Delhi, and disrupted millions of others.
In the capital, three water treatment plants were closed because they were flooded, and many neighborhoods in what is one of the largest metropolitan areas in the country could face a shortage of drinking water.
“Twenty-five percent of the water supply will be affected by this,” Mr. Kejriwal said of the closure of water treatment plants. “People will face difficulties, and they have to endure it. I appeal to the people not to leave their homes and do maximum work from home.”
Residential areas like the upscale Civil Lines, where Mr. Kejriwal lives, were also flooded.
Mr Kejriwal, who has faced criticism for failing to prepare the city for heavy rains, said many of the swells in the Yamuna came after federal authorities released water from an irrigation facility upstream from Delhi. The federal government responded by saying it had no choice because the facility was overcapacity due to heavy rains.
India has often experienced extreme weather patterns, including record heat waves and heavy floods in monsoon season. Each year, the monsoon brings 80 percent of South Asia’s annual rainfall in a season that begins in June and ends in August. But in recent years, it has become erratic and more extreme, delivering death and destruction through floods and landslides.
So far this season, the worst-hit area has been the Himalayan state of Himachal Pradesh, where at least 45 people have died since Saturday. The rains destroyed infrastructure worth millions of dollars there, and in the state of Haryana, thousands of acres of agricultural crops. Tens of thousands of people remain stranded in the state of Uttarakhand, where roads leading to four major Hindu pilgrimage sites have been blocked for the past few days.
The following photos, starting with one showing flooding near the Red Fort, a 17th-century monument, on Thursday, capture the difficulties the heavy rains have wrought.
Residents evacuating from their homes near the Yamuna River in Delhi on Wednesday.
Indian army personnel rescuing villagers after the Sutlej River flooded in the state of Punjab on Wednesday.
Residents try to reach higher ground in Delhi on Wednesday.
A flooded street in Delhi on Wednesday.
People wait for trains inside a station in the Punjab city of Amritsar, after rail services were disrupted by heavy rains on Tuesday.
A boy walking on a wall of his flooded house in Delhi, on Wednesday.
Residents searching for dry ground in New Delhi, on Wednesday.
A woman gathers her belongings before moving from a low-lying area near the Yamuna River, in northeast Delhi on Tuesday.
Rescue teams evacuating people in Delhi on Wednesday.
A man carrying his belongings through an alley flooded by the rising water of the Yamuna River in Delhi on Tuesday.