The heaviest rainfall in decades has triggered massive flooding in the central Chinese metropolis of Zhengzhou. State media initially reported twelve deaths. However, significantly more victims were feared. The floods flooded the subway, where hundreds of people were trapped in trains and also in tunnels, reported state media and eyewitnesses. Videos could be seen how the water was sometimes up to their shoulders.
More than 100,000 people were brought to safety during evacuations, reported the “People’s Daily”. Among them were around 600 seriously ill patients from a Zhengzhou University hospital. The power in the clinic was out. In the south of Zhengzhou, the dam of the Guojiaju Water Reservoir broke early Wednesday morning (local time), the state television said. No details were initially known.
“Such rains usually only happen once in 100 years. The situation is grim,” reported the crisis management team in Henan’s provincial capital, which has nine million inhabitants, according to the China Daily. Apparently people also died in the subway. A photo on social media showed two people lying lifeless on the platform of a station on Line 5. Scarves covered their faces.
Many streets in the metropolis were flooded. Some turned into torrents. Cars swam in the water. The water and electricity supply was interrupted in many places. Traffic was paralyzed. Buses got stuck. The subway network was closed, high-speed trains were suspended. Thousands of travelers were stuck at the train station. Zhengzhou Airport canceled 270 flights.
Videos of dramatic rescue operations in which people were rescued from torrential brown floods also circulated in the state media and on the Weibo short message service. Internet users complained, however, that the state censorship also deleted posts.
The unusually heavy rains in Henan were caused by Typhoon “In-Fa”. The cyclone also caused severe weather in Zhejiang and Fujian provinces. The province of Henan has been hit by heavy rains since last week. The water levels of the Yellow River and Haihe River tributaries exceeded alert levels, Xinhua News Agency reported. More heavy rainfall and flooding were expected. The damage to agriculture runs into the millions.
According to meteorologists, Zhengzhou saw the heaviest rainfall in 60 years. Severe storms were also reported from southern China, where another typhoon called “Cempaka” hit land near the city of Yangjiang with wind speeds of up to 110 kilometers per hour in Guangdong province. There were also severe floods in Inner Mongolia in northern China.