Jalandhar: Panic gripped Punjabis settled in Northern California in the United States (US), after the emergency spillway of Oroville Dam developed cracks due to heavy rains lashing this part of the country.
Gurdwara managements have shifted ‘Pawan Swaroop’ of Guru Granth Sahib to safe places while shelter and langar was arranged for Punjabis and the US nationals
As many as 40 to 50 per cent of Punjabis residing in Oroville, Butte and Sutter counties of Northern California have already been evacuated by the local US authorities.
It was learnt that following heavy rainfall, the spillways might lead to release of uncontrolled water affecting the locals. There were over 30,000 Punjabis settled in these counties of California.
While a majority of the Punjabi and the US nationals settled in these counties have already left the homes, the local Gurdwara managements have also made announcements to assist them and arrange timely ‘langar’ for them. The ‘Pawan Swaroop’ of the Guru Granth Sahib kept in the Gurdwaras has also been shifted to other places by the managements.
Talking to Daily Post, North American Punjabi Association (NAPA) Executive Director Satnam Chahal said that at present, the Oroville dam was flooded with excess water than its capacity because of the continous heavy rainfall. “The local gurdwaras in California and around other cities have come forward to assist Punjabis in this hour of need. Those, Punjabi NRIs who could manage to rush to their relatives and friends in other cities left these counties, others were being given shelter in Gurdwaras. Special arrangement of langar has also been arranged for the Punjabis and the locals,” he said.
Chahal, who is a US-based NRI currently in Jalandhar said that even the local churches, NGOs and the California government have also set up assistance centres for the local residents.
He also highlighted that around six months, California was facing acute drought situation. “At that time the US government has strictly announced not to waste water. At that time they released excess water in the Oroville dam to assist the people. However, before that situation could have been handled, it started raining soon after,” he said, adding that it has been over six months since it was raining incessantly in these counties situated near the dam.
Chahal maintained that the Gurdwara at Sacramento in California has already made announcements that anybody could come and get shelter and langar facility. “Given the way it has been raining for the past many days, it seems that the danger was increasing and would lead to a major trouble,” he added.