Floods in Zhengzhou, China: Passengers trapped in submerged subway as deadly floods sweep through Henan


At least 12 people have been confirmed dead in Zhengzhou, the provincial capital, where more than eight inches of rain fell in an hour on Tuesday, according to the weather observatory.

More than 100,000 people have so far been evacuated from Zhengzhou, a city of 12.6 million people on the banks of the Yellow River, with thousands of emergency personnel deployed to help with the effort, according to the officials. official media.

All the bodies recovered were collected from the city’s metro, according to provincial authorities.

In nearby Gongyi town, at least four deaths have been confirmed and more than 20,000 people have been forced to leave their homes, state media reported on Wednesday.

Chinese President Xi Jinping referred to the flooding on Wednesday morning, calling the flood control situation “very serious” and ordering authorities to “prioritize the safety of people’s lives and property,” the agency reported. Xinhua State Press.

“I can’t speak anymore, please help me”

Broadcasting of sequences by Xinhua and widely shared online shows passengers from Zhengzhou trapped in a flooded subway car, crowded together as the water rises higher. Outside the window, dark floodwaters poured down, sweeping down the metro tracks.
Many of those trapped have posted calls for help on social media, according to screenshots released online and statements from the Henan firefighters.

“The water inside the car has reached chest level! I can’t speak anymore, please help me!” wrote a woman, who was called Xiaopei.

A few minutes later, she posted another comment, “If no rescue arrives in 20 minutes, several hundred of us will be killed in the Zhengzhou metro. Firefighters later confirmed that Xiaopei had been rescued.

The city’s metro system, which contains seven lines and 153 stations, suspended all operations after the incident, provincial officials said.

Other videos show residents on the streets, waist deep in water, working desperately to get trapped people out of an underground mall using ropes. A clip shared by state-run People’s Daily shows motorists on a road making a human chain, to avoid being swept away by the current as they scramble through the tumultuous water.

People stranded in flood waters along a street following heavy rains in Zhengzhou, China on July 20.

Heavy rains also caused power outages throughout the city. A hospital, housing nearly 10,000 patients, faced a complete blackout on Tuesday, with social media photos showing its first floor submerged in water.

On Weibo, a user said the power failure cut ventilators in intensive care units at Zhengzhou University’s First Affiliate Hospital. She said her father had to rely on medical workers to manually pump oxygen into her lungs and begged authorities to restore power to the facility.
The state-run People’s Daily later confirmed the power outage at the hospital, where it said more than 600 critically ill patients needed to be transferred. As of Wednesday morning, power was restored to the intensive care rooms, the newspaper said.
More than 6,000 firefighters and nearly 2,000 members of the Chinese police and military have been deployed for search and rescue operations in the disaster areas, according to state television station CGTN. Ground footage shows soldiers and emergency crews rescuing residents from rafts and clearing overturned power lines.
Workers drain water from a flooded area in Lanzhou, Henan, China on July 20.

Threatened dams

Although the rains have eased since then, the problems are likely to persist, as dozens of dams and reservoirs have exceeded warning levels.

There have been conflicting reports on the condition of the Guojiazui dam near Zhengzhou, with CGTN initially announcing that it collapsed at 1:30 a.m. on Wednesday, before later appearing to revisit its information. A statement from the Emergency Management Ministry also said the dam had ruptured, according to a screenshot cited by the China Daily, a state newspaper. However, this line has since been deleted.

Xinhua reported Wednesday afternoon that “much of the slope downstream of the dam has collapsed, but the dam itself has not collapsed.”

In the city of Luoyang west of Zhengzhou, Chinese soldiers rushed to blow up a dam and deflect the floods on Tuesday evening at the request of county officials. Heavy rains caused a 20-meter (65-foot) breach in the dam, which authorities said “can collapse at any time,” according to a statement from the Central Theater Command of the People’s Liberation Army.

Although flooding during the summer months is an annual occurrence in parts of China, recent record rains have alarmed scientists and officials, raising questions about whether the country is prepared to face the conditions. more extreme and unpredictable weather.

A report released last week by Greenpeace warned that major metropolitan areas around Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou-Shenzhen were at risk from extreme heat and rainfall.

According to the report, Beijing experienced the fastest rise in average temperature with an increase of 0.32 degrees Celsius every 10 years. Guanzhou-Shenzhen has experienced 98 heat waves since 1961, the majority of which have occurred in the past two decades.

Meanwhile, precipitation is much more volatile, swinging up and down. The report says that if global greenhouse gas emissions peak around 2040, parts of China like Shanghai will experience a more than 25% increase in extreme precipitation, while other areas, like northwestern China. Guangzhou-Shenzhen, will experience more drought.

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