Heavy rain in Central China, killing 12
At least 16 people were killed as torrential rain lashed China’s central province of Henan, causing landslides and flooding that partially submerged the underground rail system of Zhengzhou.
About 200,000 residents were evacuated as of Wednesday as soldiers led rescue efforts in Zhengzhou – a city of over 10 million people – where days of rain have inundated the streets and subway, local government officials said.
Images shared on social media on Tuesday showed passengers up to their necks in water and clinging to the handrails inside a carriage on Zhengzhou’s subway. Other passengers filmed videos of the water rising in the tunnels outside the carriage windows.
The provincial capital had “experienced a series of rare and heavy rainstorms, causing water to accumulate in Zhengzhou metro”, city officials said in a Weibo post on Wednesday.
Twelve people were killed in the Metro, five more were injured and hundreds were rescued, officials said.
“The water reached my chest,” a survivor wrote on social media. “I was really scared, but the most terrifying thing was not the water, but the increasingly diminishing air supply in the carriage.”
As rain continued to fall on Wednesday, thousands of firefighters and troops were deployed to the region to help with search and rescue, and President Xi Jinping went on state television to demand authorities at all levels give priority to ensuring people’s safety, and implement flood prevention and disaster relief measures.
“Some reservoirs had their dams burst… causing serious injury, loss of life and property damage,” the president said on Wednesday. “The flood control situation is extremely severe.”
Henan is a particularly populous province and a major transport hub. It is also a key base for industry and agriculture.
Summer often brings heavy rain and flooding to the region, but growing cities and changes to land use have increased the costs of flood damage.
The flooding in central China comes days after catastrophic flooding led to the deaths of over 160 people in western Germany.
New York City was also left with flooded subway stations after being hit by tropical storm Elsa earlier in the month.
Featured image: A man wading past a submerged car along a flooded street following heavy rains in Zhengzhou in China’s central Henan province. (Credits: AFP)
Written by Ruth Jane