An unprecedented rainstorm hit Central China’s Henan province on Tuesday, battering the capital Zhengzhou and causing flooding that killed at least a dozen people.
As many as 100,000 residents were evacuated after the local government issued the highest level of alert for flood response following torrential rains. Indian Embassy in Beijing has expressed sympathy and deepest condolences to those affected and wished for an early recovery from the situation. “We are deeply saddened by the reports of floods in Henan province that have caused destruction to life and property,” said the embassy in a tweet.
Hundreds of trains and flights have been grounded. Two rail lines have been damaged and others have been affected by the flooding, causing widespread travel disruptions, according to a statement from the state rail operator China State Railway Group Co. Ltd on Wednesday. Local media reported that over 660 flights, or 70% of those scheduled, were canceled Wednesday at Zhengzhou’s Xinzheng International Airport, according to Variflight, an aviation data services provider.
Henan, one of China’s most populous provinces with 94 million people, has been hammered by devastating storms since the weekend as daily rainfall in several cities hit record highs. In Zhengzhou, which has a population of 12.6 million, some 8 inches of rain fell between 4 p.m. and 5 p.m. Tuesday, in what was the heaviest hour of rainfall ever recorded anywhere on the Chinese mainland, according to official data.
State media reported, three major landslides in the Yellow River basin have blocked road traffic. Fourteen reservoirs in the Gongyi city administered by Zhengzhou are overflowing and two townships have been inundated in large areas. So far, 23,663 people have been relocated due to safety concerns in the city. Eighty-three roads and a railway line were blocked by rain-triggered disasters. Communication, power and water supply in several areas of the city have been disrupted for more than 24 hours with base stations, electricity and water facilities damaged. A downpour in Zhengzhou caused train services to stop Tuesday night, stranding a large number of people.
Passengers on a subway train were trapped that night as the heavy rain inundated the subway system with rushing water. They were trapped waist-deep in murky floodwaters, and the underground station was covered in water, video clips on social media showed. After hours of rescue efforts, more than 500 passengers had been evacuated from the station, authorities said. Heavy rainfall burst the banks of major rivers and flooded streets in several cities, forcing the province to suspend railway services.