At least 25 people have died after torrential rains caused landslides and flooded a city in central China, with shocking images showing passengers struggling against chest-high water inside a railcar.
As river embankments were breached in record downpours across Henan Province, Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) yesterday described the situation as “extremely severe,” with flood control measures entering a “critical stage,” state media reported.
About 200,000 residents were evacuated in Zhengzhou, local government officials said, as soldiers led rescue efforts in the city of more than 10 million people that saw the equivalent of a year’s average rain dumped on it in just three days.
The rainfall in the region was the heaviest since record-keeping began 60 years ago.
Rainstorms submerged Zhengzhou’s metro late on Tuesday, killing 12 people and injuring five, while city officials said that hundreds were rescued from the subway.
Nerve-shredding images shared on social media showed shocked passengers contending with the fast-rising waters inside a car.
Rescuers cut open the roof of the coach to pull people to safety, local media reported.
Others showed dramatic rescues of pedestrians in Zhengzhou from torrents in the streets.
At least four people were killed in nearby Gongyi city, where houses and walls collapsed, Xinhua news agency reported, adding that rainfall had caused multiple landslides.
People outside Zhengzhou made anxious pleas on social media for information as communications to the city went down.
“Is the second floor in danger? My parents live there, but I can’t get through to them on the phone,” one person wrote.
Authorities have issued the highest warning level for Henan Province as floods continue to hammer the region, with landslides blocking many roads, villages evacuated and large areas left without communications.
As the scale of the disaster continued to unspool and the damage ran into tens of millions of dollars, the Chinese army said it had averted the collapse of the stricken Yihetan Dam about an hour from Zhengzhou.
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