© Reuters. A resident wearing a rain cover stands on a flooded road in Zhengzhou, Henan Province, China, July 20, 2021. cnsphoto via REUTERS
Authors: Ryan Woo and Stella Qiu
BEIJING (Reuters)-On Wednesday, large areas of Henan Province in central China were flooded. At least 12 people died in the city after the city was soaked by what weather observers said was the biggest rain in 1,000 years.
The Zhengzhou municipal government, which has a population of more than 12 million along the Yellow River, said that with the increase in rainfall throughout Henan in the next three days, 12 people were reported to have died from subway flooding and more than 500 people were drowned. Pull to safety.
Videos on social media on Tuesday showed commuters riding a train in the dark and chest deep in the muddy flood, and a subway station turned into a huge, churning pool.
“Water reached my chest,” one survivor wrote on social media. “I’m really scared, but the most terrifying thing is not the water, but the decreasing air supply in the carriage.”
A Zhengzhou surnamed Guo who spent the night in the office said that due to rain, the authorities stopped bus services because the vehicles were driven by electricity.
“This is why so many people take the subway and tragedy happened,” Guo told Reuters.
From Saturday night to late Tuesday, the rainfall in Zhengzhou, about 650 kilometers (400 miles) southwest of Beijing, was 617.1 millimeters (mm). This is almost equal to the annual average of 640.8 mm in Zhengzhou.
The local media quoted meteorologists as saying that the rainfall in Zhengzhou in the past three days was “once in a thousand years.”
Picture of the biggest rainstorm in a thousand years in Zhengzhou, central China-https://graphics.reuters.com/CHINA-WEATHER/HENAN/gdpzyryyevw/chart.png
‘Difficult flood prevention’
Henan, a province with a population of about 100 million, has undergone earth-shaking changes in the lives of millions of people during the unusually active rainy season, leading to the rapid rise of many rivers in the vast Yellow River Basin.
Many train services in Henan, a major logistics hub in central China, have been suspended. Many highways have also been closed, and flights have been delayed or cancelled.
Roads in more than a dozen cities were severely flooded.
“Flood prevention has become very difficult,” President Xi Jinping said of the situation in a statement broadcast on state television on Wednesday.
Dozens of reservoirs and dams have also exceeded the warning line.
The local government stated that rainfall caused a 20-meter dam failure at the Yihetan dam in Luoyang City, west of Zhengzhou City, and the dam “may collapse at any time.”
In Zhengzhou, the local flood control headquarters stated that the Guojiazui Reservoir in the city had broken but the dam had not yet broken.
About 100,000 people in the city have been evacuated to a safe area.
Power outages in schools and hospitals
Taiwanese technology giant Foxconn operates a factory near the Zhengzhou suburban airport to assemble iPhones for Apple (NASDAQ:). It stated that it has no direct impact on its facilities, but has initiated an emergency response plan.
China’s largest automaker SAIC said its Zhengzhou plant’s logistics will be affected in the short term, while Japan’s Nissan (OTC:) said that its Zhengzhou plant’s production has been suspended.
Zhengzhou’s transportation system is still in a state of paralysis, and schools and hospitals are disrupted due to waterlogging. Since Tuesday, some children have been trapped in the kindergarten.
Residents affected by the flood have sought refuge in libraries, cinemas and even museums.
“We have as many as 200 people of all ages seeking temporary shelter,” said a staff member surnamed Wang at the Zhengzhou Science and Technology Museum.
“We provide them with instant noodles and hot water. They spend the night in a huge meeting room.”
About 3 kilometers away, the First Affiliated Hospital of Zhengzhou University-the city’s largest hospital with more than 7,000 beds-had a power outage and even its backup power supply.
Hospitals are scrambling to find transportation to transfer about 600 critically ill patients.