Death toll reaches 25 from severe flooding in Central China’s Henan: authorities

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By GT staff reporters

 

The death toll has climbed to 25, with 7 missing from severe floods that have hit Zhengzhou, Central China’s Henan Province. A total of 1.24 million were affected and 160,000 were evacuated.

After some subway stations were hit by the flood, Zhengzhou Metro suspended the entire subway at 6 pm on Tuesday. More than 500 people were evacuated, among them, 12 died and 5 were injured, according to Zhengzhou government on Wednesday.

President Xi Jinping instructed on early Wednesday that Henan’s flood prevention and disaster relief work should prioritize the protection of people’s lives and property, and take flood prevention and disaster relief measures seriously.

Xi also told relevant departments to restore life to normality as soon as possible.

As of 7 am on Wednesday, 36,000 people in Zhengzhou were seriously affected by the disaster, and nearly 200,000 people were relocated, according to Zhengzhou municipal government.

Heavy rainfall caused serious water accumulation at the Wulongkou parking lot and its surrounding areas on subway line 5. The water rushed out of the retaining wall of the entrance line and entered the main line section, causing subway line 5 to be suspended at the Beach Temple Street station and Shakou Road station, the Zhengzhou government said.

“The rain is too heavy, and the water on the road outside the station rises to lower leg. I was stocked with many other passengers at the station exit for about an hour until I booked a hotel room nearby,” a high school teacher surnamed Wang who was trapped in the subway station of Wuyi Park on Line 5 at around 4 pm on Tuesday told the Global Times.

Wang said that she felt fortunate that she was not strapped inside the subway, but after arriving at the hotel, she found that the hotel has no electricity and water, and did not know when it would recover.

Mountainous Mihe township west to Zhengzhou was flooded earlier on Tuesday causing many residents to be relocated to the nearby government buildings. Another round of search for the missing started Wednesday morning. Electricity and communications went off at Tuesday 1:30 pm and were not restored as of Wednesday morning.

Amid heavy rainfall, the First Affiliated Hospital of Zhengzhou University reported a blackout on Tuesday night, forcing medical staff to use airbags one-on-one to provide artificial oxygen to patients in need. About 600 critically ill patients were waiting to be transferred, according to media reports.

A netizen who claimed to be a child of a doctor from the intensive care unit of the respiratory department of the hospital said that medical staff were assigned to each patient’s bed to pinch a balloon to maintain normal breathing of patients. “The ventilator can’t work normally. I am very worried about how long my dad’s severe respiratory patients can last.”

From Sunday to Wednesday, Zhengzhou was experiencing rare heavy rainfall, with the average cumulative precipitation reaching 445 millimeters, the Zhengzhou government said.

The rainfall in Zhengzhou between 4 pm and 5 pm on Tuesday reached 201.9 millimeters, exceeding the extreme hourly rainfall recorded in China, the Central Meteorological Observatory said.

The daily rainfall recorded at 10 national meteorological observatories in Henan Province broke the historic meteorological records. From Tuesday and Wednesday morning, precipitation in central and northernern Henan was between 250 and 350 millimeters and the precipitation in Zhengzhou was 500-657 millimeters, according to the Central Meteorological Observatory.

The Central Meteorological Observatory expects that the central and northern part of Henan Province will continue to experience torrential rainfall on Wednesday and Thursday morning.

The local emergency response level for flood control has been raised to Level I, the highest level for emergency response, according to the provincial anti-flood office on early Wednesday. The office is doing everything to avoid more deaths and injuries and has devoted an all-out effort to the rescue mission.

The state flood control and drought relief bureau has dispatched a work group to Henan. At the same time, the Ministry of Emergency Management also initiated the cross-regional reinforcement plan by dispatching resources from seven provinces to help Zhengzhou. More than 1,800 officers and soldiers, 250 boats, and thousands of flood relief equipment were used, the ministry said.

The PLA Central Theater Command has dispatched 730 commanders and fighters to the flood prevention and disaster relief.  At the same time, 1,159 armed police officers and soldiers, more than 60 vehicles, 6,760 firefighters and 1,383 vehicles, 690 militiamen, and 35 assault boats had participated in the rescue, according to the Zhengzhou government.

This rainfall in Zhengzhou is regarded as the heaviest in 60 years. Meteorologists say the typhoon near South China and the topography of the region could be the major reasons for the unusual torrential rainfall.

Meteorologists said that typhoon “Yanhua,” which is approaching East China’s Fujian Province, exerted “remote control” over Henan. Water vapor is pushed from the sea to Henan following the path of the typhoon as well as air currents.

When the airflow hits the mountains in Henan, it converges and shoots upwardwhich causes rainfall to be concentrated in this region, they said.

Global Times

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