The heavy rainfall that led to massive floods in Henan Province in Central China in recent days is now moving north. In Henan, the official death toll is 33, and the weather caused by hurricane In-Fa has so far affected the provincial capital Zhengzhou and its surrounding area. People were trapped in flooded subway stations, amongst others.
The provincial weather institute has issued code red – the highest alert phase – for four cities north of Zhengzhou: Xinxiang, Anyang, Hebi and Jiaozuo. Many people have been or are being evacuated, more than 70,000 in Anyang alone. There, according to the official Chinese news agency Xinhua, over 600 millimetres of rain has fallen since Monday. In Xinxiang, it would even be 812 millimeters.
According to Xinhua, thats record quantities. For comparison, in Limburg last week fell 150 millimeters in some places in two days.
Tens of thousands of rescue workers are looking for victims in Henan. There are officially eight people missing, but it is suspected to be much more and the death toll will rise substantially.
The aftermath of the floods in Chinas city of Zhengzhou:
Meanwhile, more and more stories are coming out of people who had anxious moments in the Zhengzhou Subway. The water was sometimes so high in the subway stations that there was only enough room to keep breathing.
Children and people who werent long enough were helped up by others. The water did not rise at one point, but after an hour the light went out and passengers were afraid there would not be enough oxygen.
The rescue eventually came a few hours later, when rescuers broke open the glass roof of the subway. “Suddenly there was air again,” says a passenger affected. In the end, hundreds of people were rescued from the flung subway tunnel.
The Ministry of Transport says local authorities should immediately investigate the rail network for potential hazards. Also, protocols for evacuating passengers and closing stations need to be reviewed.