Beijing: In Zhengzhou, central China, authorities reported that 12 people died after torrential rains flooded the subway. Social media users posted pictures showing passengers struggling against neck-high water in a carriage.
The city of more than 10 million people in Henan Province ‘has experienced a series of rare and heavy rainstorms, causing water to accumulate in Zhengzhou metro’, officials said in a Weibo post, adding 12 people died and five were injured.
The government of Henan has issued the highest warning level as record floods hammer the province. Floods are common in China throughout the year, but scientists say climate change is causing more extreme weather patterns.
Images flooded Chinese social media of pedestrians rescued from torrential downpours in Zhengzhou.
The Chinese army has warned that a dam in the center of the country may collapse anytime because it has been severely damaged after torrential storms that killed at least three people and brought the region to a standstill.
The People’s Liberation Army warned Tuesday evening that the relentless downpour had caused a 20-metre breach in the Yihetan dam in Luoyang, a city of around seven million people, with the risk that it ‘may collapse at any minute’. Soldiers from the PLA’s Central Theater Command have been dispatched to carry out emergency responses, including blasting and flood diversion.
According to the statement, ‘a 20-metre breach occurred at Yihetan dam on July 20, the riverbank was severely damaged and the dam may collapse at any time.’
The annual flooding in China’s rainy season causes chaos and destroys crops and houses.
The threat has worsened over the decades because dams and levees have cut off connections between the river and adjacent lakes, disrupting floodplains that helped absorb summer surges.
It was the heaviest rainfall since record-keeping began 60 years ago, with the equivalent of a year’s rainfall in just three days.