Subway flooded, streets in flood: the city of Zhengzhou is overwhelmed by very important floods and has at least a dozen dead. A large dam threatens to give way, 200,000 people have been evacuated preventively.
“Extremely serious” floods by President Xi Jinping’s own admission. China faces torrential rains that have left at least 12 people dead on the metro in a large city in the center of the country. The scenes of chaos on July 20 in Zhengzhou, a city of 10 million inhabitants 700 kilometers south of Beijing, are causing concern in the country.
The army was called in to reinforce Zhengzhou, capital of the densely populated province of Henan, which received almost the equivalent of a year of rain in three days. On the morning of July 21, no less than 200,000 inhabitants had to be evacuated, according to the town hall, which specifies that 36,000 people were “affected” by the floods.
The city “has experienced a series of rare and violent thunderstorms, causing water to accumulate in the Zhengzhou metro,” according to the Weibo account of local authorities, which added that 12 people were killed and five others were injured. The metropolis was placed on July 20 on red alert. This is the highest alert level for weather in China. National CCTV television showed city streets submerged in a huge current of muddy water, as residents with knee-deep water pushed their vehicles through flooded arteries.
According to the People’s Daily, the newspaper of the ruling Communist Party, the bad weather caused houses to collapse. But it was in the metro that the situation seemed most dramatic, with passengers hanging from the handles, while the water reached their shoulders, and others standing on the seats.
The central Chinese city of #Zhengzhou has been lashed by record rainstorms, causing severe waterlogging, traffic disruptions, power outages and civilian casualties. First-responders have started the emergency rescue work. pic.twitter.com/6PSVO2rTY2
– People’s Daily, China (@PDChina) July 20, 2021
A 20-meter breach appeared on a large dam
President Xi Jinping called for mobilization in the face of bad weather. “Dams have collapsed, causing serious injuries, deaths and damage. The situation on the flood front is extremely serious, ”he said, according to statements reported by national television. According to Chinese authorities, the rains in the region were the heaviest on record since the weather phenomena were compiled 60 years ago. Floods hit China regularly during the summer, with a death toll of several thousand in 1998 in the Yangtze region, further south.
The dam can give way at any moment
The regional command of the People’s Liberation Army said in a statement that a 20-meter breach appeared on July 20 at the Yihetan Dam in Luoyang, a city of about seven million people in the Henan region. : “The dam can give way at any moment,” he warned. The army announced that it had sent soldiers to carry out emergency action including blasting and flood diversion.
Soldiers were deployed along other waterways in the region to reinforce the banks with sandbags. More than 10,000 people have been preventively evacuated in recent days according to local authorities in Henan who estimate the damage at several million euros. Flooding occurs every summer in China due to the seasonal rains. But the threat has increased in recent years, due in particular, in addition to the artificialization of soils, the construction of dams or deviations of rivers which have sometimes cut the existing connections between rivers and rivers. adjacent lakes, and prevented excess water from spilling out into the plains.