Sacramento's Sikh Temples Offer To Take In Oroville Dam Evacuees

The damage to the dam's emergency spillway could be disastrous for Northern California.

In Northern California, more than180,000 people have fled their homes following an evacuation order on Sunday by state officials amid fears that a damaged spillway in the state's tallest dam could give way to severe flooding. Oroville Dam is a critical water source for California, and if the spillway further erodes, it could release a catastrophic 30-foot wall of water onto surrounding Yuba county.

Gov. Jerry Brown issued an emergency order to boost the state's response to the damaged spillway and help with evacuations, but shelters and evacuation centers have reportedly been struggling to cope with the influx of people coming in. In a bid to help the region cope with the number of Oroville Dam evacuees, Sikh temples across Sacramento have stepped in, opening their doors as temporary housing to those affected. 

California is home to a thriving Sikh population, and Yuba City's annual Sikh parade is reportedly "the largest South Asian festival outside of the Indian subcontinent." 

Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg tweeted to his followers that Sikh temples, or gurdwaras, were offering food and shelter to evacuees. 

Dr. Gurtej S. Cheema at Sacramento's Capital Sikh Center told the Huffington Post that the gurdwara is offering meals and accommodation for up to 50 people, thanks to members who delivered bedding items and helped evacuees settle in with hot tea and meals.

"We're well prepared," Cheema said. "We're glad we can help and are available."

A Plus has reached out to several gurdwaras for comment.

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