On Tuesday (20), part of the city’s flood protection system collapsed due to flooding high rain And the water began to invade the stations.
Floods in China leave commuters trapped in subway cars
Local authorities reported that more than 500 people had been rescued. A video shared on social media shows some people with water close to their necks; Another depicts a stream sweeping across the platforms.
Survivors reported on social media that water started to enter through a crack in the carriage doors, slowly rising “from our heels to our knees, up to our necks”.
“Anyone who made it through got on the train seats,” one woman wrote on the Twitter-like Weibo platform.
In three days, it rained in Zhengzhou at the rate of one year – Image: Reuters via BBC
The children got the help of their parents, who raised them so they were above water level, while the others propped themselves up on anything that could serve as a shield to try to keep their heads above the water. After about half an hour, according to one passenger, it became “hard to breathe.”
The order to stop the service was issued on the line at 6:10 pm local time (7:10 am EST), according to a statement issued by Zhengzhou authorities, so that the passengers could be rescued. In addition to the 12 deaths, five other people were infected.
On the surface, roads turned into rivers as water quickly carried away cars and debris and put pedestrians at risk.
Across the county, the total number of torrential rain victims recorded in recent days has reached 25. More than 200,000 people were forced to leave their homes. The transportation system was severely affected, with flights and train travel cancelled.
Chinese President Xi Jinping said the storms had caused “great loss of life and property”.
No water, no electricity, no internet
12 dead in heavy rains in China
In Zhengzhou, the amount of rain in recent days is equivalent to the average observed in an entire year.
Pictures of the subway in Zhengzhou were not the only moments of despair. Elsewhere in the city, children had to be rescued from a daycare center that was also overrun with water. State TV channels showed the students being evacuated in plastic bowls.
Even the hospital at Zhengzhou University ran out of electricity for a while on Tuesday night, according to a statement posted by the Zhengzhou Municipal Party Committee on social network Weibo. According to the text, 600 patients in serious condition were transferred to another health unit.
One resident known as Liu, 27, told the BBC’s Chinese channel that he had “no water, electricity or internet”. “I have never seen such heavy rain in my life,” he added.
The damage was not limited to Zhengzhou. In Luoyang City, the rain opened a 20-meter crack in one of the dams, local authorities said. Military personnel were sent to the area to try to control the situation. But an army statement warned that the structure could “collapse at any time”.
On social media, a user said that the residents of Sishui City were trapped on rooftops due to flooding. “We don’t know how to swim…the whole village is about to be swept away,” he wrote.
What is the cause of the floods?
In three days it rained in Zhengzhou an average of one year – Image: reproduction via BBC
China’s Meteorological Administration said on Wednesday that Henan Province had experienced “extraordinary heavy rain” since Saturday. Zhengzhou broke a “historic record” with 624 mm of rain on Tuesday – a third of the total between 4 pm and 5 pm.
Also, according to the Meteorological Authority, the area will continue to witness storms and storms until Thursday (22) at least.
Floods can be caused by various factors, but the warming of the atmosphere caused by climate change increases the likelihood of extreme events such as storms.
Heavy rain is expected to continue into Thursday, according to the China Meteorological Service – Image: Getty via BBC
Henan Province is located in the Great Basin of the Yellow River, the second longest river in the country. Thus, the area is crossed by a river network and thus ends up with a high risk of flooding. The capital, Zhengzhou, with a population of about 12 million, is located on the banks of the Yellow River.
In recent decades, China has built a series of dams in the Yellow River basin. According to the BBC’s China correspondent Stephen McDonnell, scientists have already warned that infrastructure work could exacerbate problems from climate change in an area traditionally prone to flooding.
Links between rivers and lakes have been severed, and the floodplains that once absorbed much of the region’s annual summer rains are isolated.
Henan Province, BBC Map – Photo: BBC