(CNN) – At least 33 people died at the center and eight are still missing China, Authorities have stepped up rescue and rescue efforts after the devastating floods that engulfed the entire neighborhood, trapping passengers in subway cars, triggering landslides and overflowing dams and rivers.
Heavy rain in Henan province since last weekend. Henan officials said on Thursday that they had displaced hundreds of thousands of people and caused economic damage worth 1.22 billion yuan (about $ 190 million).
Henan, with a population of 99 million, is one of the poorest and most populous provinces in China, with numerous agricultural lands and factories.
Zhengzhou, the provincial capital with a population of 12 million, is one of the worst-hit areas, with 12 people trapped in a flooded tunnel for hours, killing 12 people. Many small towns and cities have been devastated by the floods in China. Heavy rains are forecast in the region, so the death toll is expected to rise as rescue operations continue.
In the town of Kongi, west of Zhengzhou, at least four people were killed when floodwaters washed over the streets. Heavy rains caused widespread houses to collapse and landslides, hampering rescue efforts.
In another city, Xinjiang, rivers have risen beyond warning levels and seven reservoirs are overflowing, affecting 58 districts and 470,000 people, according to the state-owned People’s Daily.
The intensity of the flood has been recorded in numerous videos shared on Chinese social media, showing how people and cars are washed away in streams. On Thursday, stranded people continued to call for help on the country’s two largest social media sites, Wechat and Weibo, and shared photos and information of some missing family members.
‘On the verge of collapse’
One of the most horrific scenes of the flood disaster in China occurred underground on the 5th row of the Zhengzhou tunnel.
During an emergency on Tuesday afternoon, hundreds of passengers were trapped in rising water as dark streams entered the tunnel and got stuck in cars. Some have posted videos and asked for help online. Dramatic videos showing people holding roof handles to keep their heads above the rising water shocked the nation and made headlines around the world. In another video, several lifeless bodies can be seen on stage, with rescuers doing CPR on others.
Officers they said More than 500 passengers were evacuated from the flooded subway. 12 were killed and five were injured.
In social media and interviews with Chinese media, some of the survivors shared heartbreaking accounts of how the tunnel disaster unfolded.
In a post on the Weibo micro-blogging site, a woman said water started flowing out of the tunnel shortly after she stopped between the two stations. Staff had initially advised passengers to exit the tunnel and exit through the tunnel, but after a while they were told to return as there was too much water.
By the time everyone got back to the wagons, they were deep in the waist. The level continued to rise as more water filled the tunnel and clogged the gaps between the car doors.
“We tried to stand on the seats as much as we could, but even then, eventually the water was up to our chests,” he wrote. “I was really scared, but the scary thing was not the water, but the lack of air in the car, many people seemed to have trouble breathing.”
In that post, another woman said she heard her family giving her bank account details over the phone and wondered if she should do the same. He sent a message to his mother that he should not survive. When his mother called him back, he was suddenly speechless. He said he was still waiting for rescuers and would spend the next two and a half hours “on the brink of collapse.”
She eventually came out of lack of oxygen, but woke up due to the vibration of her phone. A call came from her mother that the rescued were coming their way. At that moment he heard footsteps above the tunnel, and firefighters began smashing the windows to let in fresh air. He heard more rescuers coming, and they drove each other out. He wrote that they first took out the unconscious and then the women.
The post was then removed from the network. It is not clear why or by whom, and the CNN account could not be verified.
Another woman told the state China Youth Daily He could not help crying as he saw water entering the tunnel. Others around him are crying. But the truth is, they comforted each other, and gradually most of them chose to be quiet to conserve energy.
Some tried to call the emergency lines and asked family and friends for help, but to no avail. At 9pm, water from inside the tunnel reached their throats, he said. There were children, pregnant women and the elderly, and some around them began to shake, rope, and suffocate.
“I was so scared at the time. When I saw water coming over our heads through the window, I was getting ready to accept that I could never get out,” he said.
He only had 30% battery in the phone. He shut down all other apps on his device and sent messages to his family and friends in WeChat, but he did not dare tell his parents, he said. Before 9 p.m., he will ask rescuers to contact him. But after that hour, he devoted himself mainly to arranging things to be taken care of after he died.
How to prepare for floods in China
During a news conference on Wednesday night, officials observed a moment of silence for flood victims in China. Authorities say more than 6,000 firefighters and 2,000 members of the military and paramilitary forces have been dispatched to the disaster-hit areas.
Despite the fact that some parts of China are flooded every year during the summer months, the recent record-breaking rains have left scientists and officials in a state of panic, raising questions about whether the country is prepared to deal with extreme and unpredictable weather conditions. Multiplied by climate change.
“Areas experiencing rapid urbanization are at increased risk,” said Liu Junyan, head of Greenpeace’s climate and energy program in Beijing, which released the report mapping risk and said in a recent press release. Major cities.
“Creating flexible communities means, first and foremost, identifying groups at risk based on their location, income, well-being, housing, employment, medical history or other factors,” Liu added.
‘Once in 1,000 years’?
Henan officials said the intensity of the rain was unprecedented: more than 20 centimeters of rain fell in Zhengzhou in one hour on Tuesday afternoon. This figure equates to one-third of the city’s annual rainfall recorded in 2020.
Zhengzhou Meteorological Station describes rainfall as “once every 1,000 years”. Meanwhile, Henan’s Department of Water Resources called rainfall in some parts of the province “once every 5,000 years.”
However, at a press conference in Beijing on Wednesday night, the senior meteorologist objected to the descriptions of the floods in China. Chen Tao, chief forecaster of the National Weather Service, said it was difficult for meteorologists to come to that conclusion without long-term reliable data, and that China’s rainfall records date back to 1951, according to the state – run Xinhua news agency.
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