While parts of China struggled to recover from devastating floods earlier this week, they shut down their ports and railways on Saturday as they braced for Typhoon In-Fa. According to the official Xinhua news agency, In-Fa will make landfall late Sunday in the eastern coastal province of Zhejiang near Shanghai. Chinese authorities have issued a level III alert for the storm, and more than 100 trains traveling through the region have been canceled, according to China Railway. Shanghai authorities closed some public parks and museums on Saturday and warned residents to refrain from large outdoor gatherings and stay indoors.
The Yangshan Port south of Shanghai has closed all container ship docks around 150 vessels, including passenger ships and cargo vessels, have been evacuated. Authorities are gradually clearing and reopening roads blocked by vehicles and debris in Henan province, where historic floods have killed at least 58 people. Millions of people have been affected by the floods, with some trapped without fresh food or water for days and others lifted to safety using excavators.
The flooding has caused billions of dollars in losses for the Henan government. More than 495,000 people have been evacuated. Officials in Henan’s emergency response department warned on Saturday the province will need to undertake extensive cleaning and disinfecting in order to prevent an epidemic from spreading. Photos posted on social media accounts by state media and the government showed rescue workers continuing to shovel mud and remove uprooted trees.
At least 12 people died Tuesday during rush hour inside a subway train after floodwaters trapped passengers in their carriage. Torrential rains dumped a year’s worth of rain in just three days this week in Zhengzhou, the hardest-hit city. In-Fa may bring more torrential rains to parts of the province in the days ahead, according to state media.
It has been an annual flood season in China for millennia, but the record rainfall in Henan has raised questions about how Chinese cities can better prepare for freak weather events that experts say are increasing in frequency and intensity due to climate change. The province of Henan is crisscrossed by rivers, dams and reservoirs, many of which were constructed decades ago to handle floodwaters and irrigate the region’s crops. However, rapid urban sprawl has strained existing drainage systems.