Heaviest rain in a thousand years batters China, 200,000 evacuated
Climate change is taking on sinister proportions. As though the floods in Europe were not enough, Nature has unleashed its fury this time on China. At least 25 people have died and around 200,000 residents evacuated after what weather forecasters called the heaviest rain in a thousand years. The downpour caused landslides and flooded large areas of Henan province, including its capital Zhengzhou.
Twelve people died and five were hurt after the rains flooded underground metro stations. Hundreds were removed from other underground tunnels.
A dozen cities in the country have been badly flooded.
A year’s rainfall buffeted the city, which has 10 million inhabitants, in just three days.
Horrifying images that went viral on social media platforms showed shocked passengers battling to keep their heads above the fast-rising waters inside a train coach. Rescuers had to prise open the roof of the bogey to pull the passengers to a safe area.
Four were killed as houses collapsed in nearby Gongyi city.
President Xi Jinping described the situation as "extremely severe" with flood control measures entering a "critical stage", state media reported on Wednesday.
"Some reservoirs had their dams burst... causing serious injury, loss of life and property damage," Xi Jinping said, according to state broadcaster CCTV.
"We have already entered the critical stage of flood control, leaders and cadres from all walks of life must... take the lead in commanding, quickly organise forces for flood protection and disaster rescue."
Relatives outside Zhengzhou made anxious pleas on China's Weibo for information as communications to the city went down.
"Is the second floor in danger? My parents live there, but I can't get through to them on the phone," one user wrote.
"I don't know more about their situation. I'm in Tianjin and my parents are in Zhengzhou," she said, giving her surname only as Hou when contacted by AFP.
"I'm very anxious."