Destructive Floods in China: Death Count Rises as Authorities Evacuate Thousands in Henan Province
China experiences severe floods every year, causing death and destruction. However, over the years, the impact of flooding has exacerbated with climate change and rapid urban expansion. Heavy torrential rains in the past couple of days have caused deadly floods in China.
A video of overturned cars and people trapped in flooded subways and streets of China has been making rounds on social media for past three days.
The video by the China Xinhua News gives a horrifying account of the inundated situation in China. Commuters can be seen in neck-deep water inside a metro line waiting to be rescued at the Zhengzhou City, which has a population of over 1.2 crore citizens.
— China Xinhua News (@XHNews) July 20, 2021
At least 33 people, including 12 subway commuters, have lost their lives in the downpour so far, as China’s central Henan Province receives its heaviest rainfall in over a millennium. According to the officials, Zhengzhou recorded 617.1 mm rainfall within three days, which is nearly the same as the annual average rainfall in the city.
Tens of thousands of people were being evacuated from flood-hit regions of central China as officials raised the death toll from heavy rain that has deluged Henan province for almost a week to 33 people. More photos: https://t.co/sjPjFGIQGi pic.twitter.com/0V2AbpLwsJ
— Reuters Pictures (@reuterspictures) July 22, 2021
Reportedly, a total of 1.24 million people are being affected by the flooding, while over 1,60,000 have been evacuated to safety. The city’s entire public service system has come to a halt as subways, streets, hotels and a large number of buildings are waterlogged. The Shaolin Temple, which is a sanctuary for Buddhist monks, has also been severely affected by the floods.
With weather predictions of more rain across the Henan Province in the coming days, President Xi Jinping has assigned 5,700 People’s Liberation Army soldiers to the city for search and rescue operations. He has also ordered all authorities to organize flood relief forces and to take care of hygiene and disease control.
The provincial weather bureau has raised a red storm alert for four cities north of Henan – Xinxiang, Anyang, Hebi and Jiaozuo – which is the highest tier of a four-step color-coded weather warning system.
As the torrential rains are wreaking havoc throughout the region, libraries, cinemas and museums have turned into shelters for stranded people. Meanwhile, some hospitals have lost all power, prompting transportation of critically ill patients to other facilities in such weather.
The relentless rainfall has made the flood situation even worse, with water rising to dangerous levels in rivers and dams. Some dams have sustained grave damage, while others have been breached with humongous water volumes and could break at any moment.
According to the South China Morning Post, the incoming Typhoon In-Fa could be responsible for the heavy rainfall. Apparently, the typhoon carried atmospheric water along with the air currents, concentrating at the Zhengzhou city, which is encircled by the Tailhang and Funiu mountains.
While China is tackling destructive floods, the situation is not likely to improve for a few days as weather experts expect more rains.
Climate change has caused extreme weather conditions all across the planet. The western countries of US and Canada are struggling with severe heat waves and wildfires, while European and Asian countries are combating extreme flooding.