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Sikh temples open doors to Lake Oroville evacuees

Posted at 6:29 PM, Feb 14, 2017
(CNN) -- Members of the Northern California Sikh community gave Lake Oroville evacuees what they needed most over the past few days: a place to stay.
"We announced that if anybody needs help, medical help, or anything we are open," said Ranjeet Singh, the manager of the Gurdwara Sahib Sikh temple in West Sacramento, California. Singh had said his temple has two large halls that can sleep about 400 people.
"People started to come here Sunday night and more than 200 people were here," he said. There were about 100 people at the temple on Tuesday.
"We have so many from Sikh community, and white community, and the black and Mexican communities also," he said.
Churches, fairgrounds, RV parks and other organizations also took in evacuees.
More than 188,000 people who live near the dam were told to evacuate on Sunday as workers scrambled to patch a giant hole in the spillway that lets out excess water when the lake level got too high.
Many left home in a hurry, and only had time to grab a few things, so the temple provided whatever necessities people left behind, Singh said.
The temple bought most of the supplies, but Singh said they also received donations.
"They call us and say 'do you need anything like blankets and food and water,' and they bring it," Singh said.
The temples also fed hungry evacuees.
Tuesday brought good news for residents and business owners, who were told they could head back to Oroville with the water level dropping.
Many started the trip home. But officials advised some of the townspeople who needed assistance to delay their returns.
The temples were willing to let them stay longer.
"We don't know how long they are going to be staying here. It depends on their situations," Singh said. "We welcome everyone for as long as they want to stay here."
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