BEIJING: At least 25 people have died in China’s flood-stricken central province of Henan, a dozen of them in a subway line in its capital Zhengzhou, and more rains are forecast for the region.
About 100,000 people have been evacuated in Zhengzhou, an industrial and transport hub, where rail and road links were disrupted. Dams and reservoirs have swelled to warning levels and thousands of troops are taking part in the rescue effort in the province.
Twelve people died and more than 500 were pulled to safety after a subway tunnel flooded, state media reported, while social media images showed train commuters immersed in chest-deep waters in the dark and one station reduced to a large brown pool.
“The water reached my chest,” a survivor wrote on social media. “I was really scared, but the most terrifying thing was not the water, but the diminishing air supply in the carriage.”
The rain halted bus services in the city of 12 million people about 650km southwest of Beijing, said a resident surnamed Guo, who had to spend the night at his office.
“That’s why many people took the subway, and the tragedy happened,” Guo said.
At least 25 people have died in the torrential rains that have lashed the province since last weekend, with seven missing, officials told a news conference yesterday.
More rain is forecast across Henan for the next three days, and the People’s Liberation Army has sent more than 5,700 soldiers and personnel to help with search and rescue.
From Saturday to Tuesday, 617.1mm of rain fell in Zhengzhou, almost the equivalent of its annual average of 640.8mm.
The three days of rain matched a level seen only “once in a thousand years”, the Zhengzhou weather bureau said.
Like recent heatwaves in the US and Canada and extreme flooding seen in western Europe, the rainfall in China was almost certainly linked to global warming, scientists said.
“Such extreme weather events will likely become more frequent in the future,” said Johnny Chan, a professor of atmospheric science at City University of Hong Kong.
Many train services were suspended across Henan, a logistics hub with a population of about 100m. Highways have also been closed and flights delayed or cancelled.
l Bahrain has expressed its sympathy to China over the floods situation in Henan province. The Foreign Ministry extended its condolences to the families of the victims and to the government and people of China.