25 killed, dams damaged as China witnesses record floods

This photo taken on July 20, 2021 shows a man wading past a submerged car along a flooded street following heavy rains in Zhengzhou in China's central Henan province.   | Photo Credit: AFP

At least 25 people were reported killed and tens of thousands relocated after record flooding in central China caused extensive damage, including to dams that officials fear are on the verge of bursting.

Chinese social media on Wednesday circulated horrifying images of flooding in Zhengzhou, the capital city of Henan province, including commuters stuck on flooded subway carriages unable to get out as water levels rose.

At least 12 of those killed were reported to have died because of water flooding the city’s subway system as commuters were heading home.

Authorities said on Wednesday evening the toll had risen to 25 with seven missing. That number is feared to increase in coming days as reports come in from elsewhere in the province and with further rainfall forecast. Officials said 1.24 million people had been affected and 1,64,710 people had to be relocated.

A subway car submerged following heavy rains in Zhengzhou, in China's central Henan province on July 21.

A subway car submerged following heavy rains in Zhengzhou, in China's central Henan province on July 21.   | Photo Credit: AFP


The flooding followed an extraordinary period of rainfall. Zhengzhou "picked up an incredible 21.75 inches (552.5 mm) of rain over the 24-hour period ending Tuesday. That's 87% of their average annual precipitation in 24 hours. It's also equal to their average 7-month total from April-October,” meteorologist Jonathan Erdman said on Twitter.

The biggest concern on Wednesday revolved around damages to several dams in the region. President Xi Jinping said the rainfall "made the flood control situation very severe, causing severe waterlogging in Zhengzhou and other cities, water levels in some rivers exceeding alarm levels, and damages to dams of some reservoirs”.

Mr. Xi has ordered the army to be deployed. The Central Theater Command of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) "sent more than 5,700 soldiers, armed police troops and militias”, State media reported, including to fortify embankments and divert waters to relieve pressure on dams on the verge of bursting.

The rains have led to water exceeding flood season levels in nine large reservoirs and 40 medium-sized ones in Henan,official media reported.

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Printable version | Sep 22, 2021 4:14:33 AM |

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