At least 12 people have been killed and 100,000 evacuated in the city of Zhengzhou, the capital of central China’s Henan province, as heavy rains submerged large areas of the province.
Visuals posted on social media showed flooding of roads, submerged metro stations and people trapped in water inside metro trains. Entire vehicles were seen either covered in water or floating in the flooded areas.
According to the news agency lbl, some weather forecasters had forecast the rain in the city to be the worst in at least 1,000 years.
The city on the banks of the Yellow River is home to at least 12 million people.
The city received over 200 mm of rain in an hour on Tuesday, forcing train operators to halt services. In addition to Zhengzhou’s transportation services, school and hospital services were also severely affected.
The city’s first affiliated hospital – a large treatment center with 7,000 beds – lost all power, including the reserve. Efforts were on to move at least 600 seriously ill patients from there to other hospitals on Wednesday. People’s Daily.
The total rainfall in Zhengzhou from Saturday evening to Tuesday was recorded at 617.1 mm, which corresponds to an annual average of about 640.88 mm.
Local media quoted meteorologists as saying that the rain seen over the three days was only seen “once in a thousand years”.
Similar scenes of flooding were reported on the streets of at least a dozen other cities, as reservoirs and dam levels across the province exceeded warning levels.
The lives of millions of people in Henan – a tourist and logistics hub – have been upended as an unusually active rainy season has rapidly uplifted rivers in the Yellow River basin.
The Yihetan Dam in Luoyang City, west of Zhengzhou, “could collapse at any time”, local officials said overnight, according to lbl.
The province’s chief weather forecaster told local media that 606 of Henan’s 4,098 rain-measuring stations have recorded more than 250 mm of rain since the weekend.
Henan’s tourist attractions have also not been spared. According to the Associated Press, the famous Shaolin Temple north of Zhengzhou, known for its historical association with martial arts, was badly affected and temporarily closed.
Similarly, the rising Yi River threatens to hit the UNESCO World Heritage Site Longmen Grottoes, which houses old Buddhist statues carved into the limestone.
Many of those stranded in the rain have been forced to sleep at their workplaces or check in at hotels.
Restaurant manager Wang Guirong, 56, told the AP that he planned to sleep on a couch in his restaurant because there was no power in his neighborhood.
“I’ve lived in Zhengzhou my whole life and have never seen such heavy rain like today,” she said.