Gurdwaras in California are offering shelter to thousands of evacuees of Yuba City, where a sizeable chunk of Indian-Americans live, following fears of Oroville Dam collapsing.
Security guards, teachers, farmers and other members of the Central Valley’s large Sikh community poured into the two-story Gurdwara Sahib Sikh temple in West Sacramento late Sunday while fleeing potential flooding along the Highway 70 corridor, south of Oroville.
“More than 200 evacuees received toiletries, bedding and tasty vegetarian meals served by the temple’s staff of 19, who worked through the night to house everybody, temple manager Ranjeet Singh was quoted saying by the Sacramento Bee.
The dam is the tallest in the US and it was feared its overflow channel, weakened due to heavy rainfall, could collapse. “People were still arriving after being stuck in traffic for seven hours,” Singh said, adding, “We have a big facility here. We can accommodate 300 to 400. If anybody needs help, we can provide it. Everybody’s welcome here.”
Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg tweeted:
The West Sacramento temple complex is believed to be the largest evacuation shelter in Sacramento as nearly 200,000 people fled the zone beneath the Oroville Dam. The Sacramento Sikh Temple in Rio Linda took in 50 to 60 families fleeing the flood zone, it reported.
“We have all races – black, white, Asian and Hispanic. There is no tobacco or alcohol, and all our meals are vegetarian,” said spokesman Darshan Singh Mundy. Most of those who camped out at Gurdwara Sahib originally came from Punjab. The Yuba City-Marysville area is home to more than 40,000 Sikhs, Mundy said, while the greater Sacramento region has roughly 70,000.
People in the River Valley below the Lake Oroville Dam 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.