At least 33 people have died and eight remain missing in central China, following devastating floods which paralyzed several cities, state media Xinhua reported Thursday (July 22).
Henan province, which is home to more than 99 million people, witnesses its heaviest rainfall in a 1,000 years, according to Zhengzhou’s meteorological station. Zhengzhou is Henan’s capital city. Henan’s water resources department, meanwhile, has called rain levels in parts of the province “once in 5,000 years.”
Henan, one of China’s poorest provinces, is a major base for industry and home to one of the world’s biggest iPhone-manufacturing sites.
The rainfall broke hourly and daily records of the 70 years of collected data. Hundreds of thousands of people were displaced with economic losses estimated at about 22 billion yuan ($190 million) so far, according to authorities.
150 kids and teachers of a kindergarten in Zhengzhou rescued pic.twitter.com/lKDxvvtmrI
— CGTN (@CGTNOfficial) July 21, 2021
In the worst incident in Zhengzhou, 12 people died Tuesday ( July 21) night in the subway system when it was inundated with flood waters. Zhengzhou is a major hub for China’s railway network and some trains were stuck on the tracks for as long as 40 hours. Many smaller cities and villages have also been badly ravaged.
State television CGTN said that, since July 16, more than 3 million people have been affected by the rainfalls. The death toll is expected to rise as rescue work continues, and landslides and widespread damage to buildings have hampered searches.
More than 6,000 firefighters and 2,000 members of the military and paramilitary forces had been deployed across disaster-hit areas, according to officials.
Though China routinely experiences flooding in the summer months, recent record-breaking rains have alarmed scientists and officials. Rapid urbanisation, and conversion of farmland has exacerbated the impact of such events.
Just as the torrential rains that inundated central China are winding down, Typhoon In-Fa is approaching Taiwan and the costal provinces in southeastern mainland China.
Western Europe, too, saw devastating floods, killing over 180 people.
With reporting by Xinhua, CGTN, Reuters