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Floods in central China: the toll triples to more than 300 dead

The results of July 20 floods in central China was abruptly revised upwards on Monday, with local authorities now reporting 302 dead and 50 missing. The precipitation that hit the metropolis of Zhengzhou, capital of the densely populated Henan province, engulfed a subway train and a road tunnel, sweeping away dozens of cars. The previous report for the entire province reported a hundred deaths.

To the press, Zhengzhou Mayor Hou Jong said 39 people were killed in underground parking lots. At least 14 people were killed in a submerged metro at rush hour, where some 500 passengers in a train were trapped.

Local authorities have been criticized for not ordering the closure of public transport despite weather warnings. In three days, the equivalent of nearly a year of precipitation fell in Zhengzhou – unprecedented in six decades of weather records, and enough to fuel concern over the impact of climate change. Hou Jong estimated the damage in his city at 53.2 billion yuan (nearly 7 billion euros).

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