China: At least 25 people, including 12 subway passengers, have lost their lives in China’s central Henan province as the city witnessed heaviest rainfall in 1,000 years. The horrifying visuals of people trapped in flooded subways and streets of China had left the internet in deep shock for the past three days. Visuals coming in from China Xinhua News show how commuters are trapped in neck-deep water inside the metro line at the Zhengzhou city as they wait to be rescued. This place alone has a population of over 1.2 crore citizens. Zhengzhou recorded 617.1 mm rainfall from Saturday to Tuesday– nearly similar to the average rainfall the city records annually (640.8 mm), as per the officials.
A total of 1.24 million people were affected by the heavy floods in the city and as many as 1,60,000 were evacuated so far, reveals State-run media. Seven people are reportedly missing and two were killed due to a wall collapse. A large number of buildings were also waterlogged apart from just subways, hotels, streets bringing the city’s public transport to a halt. The Shaolin Temple has also been hit by severe floods, reveals a report.
China floods: Rescue operation, damage and more
Meteorologists have predicted the possibility of more rain across the Henan province for the next three days. Chinese president Xi Jinping has deployed as many as 5,700 People’s Liberation Army soldiers in the city to search and rescue people trapped in the floods.
Firefighters are seen rescuing 150 children and staff from a school in the Zhengzhou city as seen on CGTN visuals. Libraries, cinemas and museums have been turned into shelters for those evacuated in the torrential rains. The First Affiliated Hospital of Zhengzhou, the city’s largest hospital with more than 7,000 beds, lost all power, making officials arrange transport for nearly 600 critically ill patients, reveals Reuters.
On Wednesday, Xi took notice of the flood situation in the city saying that the rainfall has made the situation far from severe with water rising to alarming levels in rivers, damaging the dams. Several flights have been cancelled in the view of heavy rainfall and some railways have also been suspended.
Several dams in the city were also breached leaving them hanging; it could collapse anytime. One such case was reported by local authorities in the Luoyang city where a 20-metre breach was seen in the Yihetan dam. The military had to blast the dam to release the floodwaters on Tuesday.
The Guo Jia Zui reservoir, in Zhengzhou, has been breached too but no case of dam failure has been reported yet. Flood relief forces in the city have been deployed to minimise casualties along with taking care of hygiene and disease control to prevent any chance of epidemic.
Why is there heavy flooding in China?
Floods, heavy rainfall and water logging is not new in China. Over the years, the impact of climate change and rapid urbanisation has only worsened the case for the country. The country witnesses severe water-logging almost every year leaving the city damaged and causing severe losses to life and property. The South China Morning post reported that heavy rainfall this year is the sign of incoming Typhoon In-Fa–responsible for heavy rainfall. Last year, floods in Chinaleft more than 200 people dead or missing and caused $25 billion in direct damage to the economy.