The masses of water transform multi-lane roads into raging torrents. Hundreds of people are trapped in the flooded subway.
The heaviest rainfall in decades has caused massive flooding in the central Chinese metropolis of Zhengzhou. As reported by the Chinese state television, twelve dead were found by Wednesday morning. According to the AFP news agency, you died trapped in a subway. More victims were feared. Saving human lives has “top priority,” Chinese President Xi Jinping was quoted by state media as saying.
According to Meteonews, over 600 millimeters of rain pelted down from the sky in Zhengzhou within one day – 200 of them in an hour alone. For comparison: In Zurich or Bern there has been a total of around 150 millimeters of rain this month.
Thousands of firefighters and soldiers were deployed to help the people in the city. Videos could be seen how multi-lane roads had turned into raging rivers. Cars swam in the water. The water and electricity supply was interrupted in many places. Traffic was paralyzed. The floods also flooded the subway, where hundreds of people were temporarily trapped in trains and also in tunnels, as reported by state media and eyewitnesses on social media. The water was partly up to their shoulders.
Over 10,000 people evacuated
More than 100,000 people were brought to safety during evacuations. Among them were around 600 seriously ill patients from a Zhengzhou University hospital. The power in the clinic was out. Hundreds of guests were also stranded in a hotel. In the south of Zhengzhou, the dam of the Guojiaju Water Reservoir broke in the early morning hours of Wednesday (local time), as reported by state television. Details were not initially known. There was talk of the heaviest rainfall since records began. “Such rains usually only happen once every 100 years. The situation is bleak, ”reported the crisis team in the provincial capital of Henan, with a population of nine million, according to the“ China Daily ”.
Videos of dramatic rescue operations, in which people were rescued from raging 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.
Typhoon triggered floods
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. The damage to agriculture runs into the millions.
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 the province of Guangdong. There were also severe floods in Inner Mongolia in northern China. The weather service warned again on Wednesday of heavy rains in many provinces.
Especially in the south of China, severe floods occur repeatedly in the summer months, which result in numerous victims and high economic damage. Many deaths also result from landslides.
(DPA / dmo)