At least 25 people have died in China in what meteorologists have called the worst rains for 60 years in Zhengzhou, the capital of Henan Province in the country’s central region.
Videos posted on social networks this Tuesday evening (20) show passengers trapped in a flooded subway train. At least 12 people died and more than 500 had to be rescued by emergency services. According to reports, rescuers had to open the roof of a car to remove passengers one by one.
Four other deaths have been confirmed in Gongyi, according to press reports. Located on the banks of the Yellow River, like Zhengzhou, the city has experienced a widespread collapse of houses and other structures due to the rains. The total death toll has reached 25 and there are at least seven missing.
In another article on the internet, a user said that in the car he was trapped in, the water was reaching his chest, but what scared him the most was the decrease in the air supply inside from the metro.
Due to the heavy rains in recent days, authorities in Zhengzhou, which has a population of more than 12 million and is about 650 km from Beijing, have stopped bus traffic, which has led to more people to opt for the metro.
According to the meteorological service, from last Saturday (17) to this Tuesday, the meters recorded 617.1 millimeters of rain in Zhengzhou. The annual average in the city is 640.8 millimeters. This means that the amount of rain over the past few days was almost equal to what was forecast for the whole year.
And it must continue to rain. Henan Province, a major logistics hub in China with more than 100 million people, is expected to receive more rainfall over the next three days. The People’s Liberation Army, the Chinese armed forces, sent more than 5,700 troops to reinforce the rescue and rescue teams.
“The flood prevention efforts have become very difficult,” Chinese official Xi Jinping said on Wednesday in a statement released by the state television station. “The dams sank causing serious injuries, deaths and damage. The situation caused by the floods is extremely serious.
Most rail services in Henan have been suspended. Highways have been closed and many flights have been postponed or canceled. Between 100,000 and 200,000 people – reported figures vary – in Zhengzhou have been forced to leave their homes and authorities have declared a maximum level of risk.
The city’s largest hospital, with around 7,000 beds, remained without electricity. According to the Reuters news agency, the administration was looking for ways to transfer around 600 critically ill patients.
In Luoyang, a city on the banks of the Luo River with seven million inhabitants, the extraordinary volume of water has opened a 20-meter crack in the Yihetan Dam. Authorities say the structure could collapse at any time. The military is preparing for an emergency operation that includes blasting and flood diversion to avert an even more serious disaster.
The water level at Guojiazui Reservoir in Zhengzhou has also exceeded safety thresholds, but so far there has been no real risk of rupture.
Seasonal rains cause major flooding in China every year. Last year, unprecedented flooding in the southwest of the country affected roads and forced tens of thousands of residents to seek safe areas. But the threat increased as pharaonic works, such as building dams or diverting river beds, severed existing connections between rivers and adjacent lakes.
Moreover, just like the heatwaves with record temperatures in the United States and Canada and the catastrophic floods recorded in countries such as Germany, Holland and Belgium, the rains in China are directly linked to a global context of change. climate.
Specialists consulted by Folha explain that the increase in global temperatures generates an accumulation of energy in the atmosphere which dissipates through extreme weather events, which tend to become more and more powerful and more frequent.