At least 12 people have been confirmed dead in Zhengzhou, the provincial capital, where more than eight inches of rain fell in an hour on Tuesday, according to the weather observatory.
All the bodies recovered were collected from the city’s metro, according to provincial authorities.
In nearby Gongyi town, at least four deaths have been confirmed and more than 20,000 people have been forced to leave their homes, state media reported on Wednesday.
Chinese President Xi Jinping referred to the flooding on Wednesday morning, calling the flood control situation “very serious” and ordering authorities to “prioritize the safety of people’s lives and property,” the agency reported. Xinhua State Press.
“I can’t speak anymore, please help me”
“The water inside the car has reached chest level! I can’t speak anymore, please help me!” wrote a woman, who was called Xiaopei.
A few minutes later, she posted another comment, “If no rescue arrives in 20 minutes, several hundred of us will be killed in the Zhengzhou metro. Firefighters later confirmed that Xiaopei had been rescued.
Other videos show residents on the streets, waist deep in water, working desperately to get trapped people out of an underground mall using ropes. A clip shared by state-run People’s Daily shows motorists on a road making a human chain, to avoid being swept away by the current as they scramble through the tumultuous water.
Heavy rains also caused power outages throughout the city. A hospital, housing nearly 10,000 patients, faced a complete blackout on Tuesday, with social media photos showing its first floor submerged in water.
Although the rains have eased since then, the problems are likely to persist, as dozens of dams and reservoirs have exceeded warning levels.
Xinhua reported Wednesday afternoon that “much of the slope downstream of the dam has collapsed, but the dam itself has not collapsed.”
Although flooding during the summer months is an annual occurrence in parts of China, recent record rains have alarmed scientists and officials, raising questions about whether the country is prepared to face the conditions. more extreme and unpredictable weather.
According to the report, Beijing experienced the fastest rise in average temperature with an increase of 0.32 degrees Celsius every 10 years. Guanzhou-Shenzhen has experienced 98 heat waves since 1961, the majority of which have occurred in the past two decades.
Meanwhile, precipitation is much more volatile, swinging up and down. The report says that if global greenhouse gas emissions peak around 2040, parts of China like Shanghai will experience a more than 25% increase in extreme precipitation, while other areas, like northwestern China. Guangzhou-Shenzhen, will experience more drought.