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25 dead as roads, underground inundated in Chinese flooding

25 dead as roads, underground inundated in Chinese flooding

dpa
Beijing
The heaviest rains in decades have caused massive flooding in the central Chinese metropolis of Zhengzhou.
Local authorities reported 25 deaths on Wednesday, but there are fears more bodies will be found. Seven were missing, authorities reported on Wednesday.
More than 1 million people were affected in the surrounding province of Henan, of which Zhengzhou is the capital.
Saving lives was the “top priority,” Chinese President Xi Jinping was quoted as saying in the state media.
Videos showed how some of the multi-lane roads in the metropolis of 9 million people turned into raging rivers. Cars floated in the floods.
Water and electricity supplies were cut off in many places. Traffic was paralysed.
The floodwaters inundated the underground system, where hundreds of people were trapped on trains and also in tunnels, as reported by state media and witnesses on social media. Videos showed water up to people’s shoulders.
Evacuations brought 160,000 people to safety. Among them were around 600 seriously ill patients from a hospital at Zhengzhou University.
The electricity in the hospital was out. Hundreds of guests were stranded in a hotel.
In the south of Zhengzhou, the dam of the Guojiaju water reservoir burst, state television reported. Other reservoirs also swelled.
“This kind of rainfall is usually seen once in 100 years. The situation is grim,” read a press release from the flood control headquarters in Zhengzhou, according to China Daily. According to Chinese media, as much rain has fallen on the region since Tuesday as usually falls in eight months.
Videos of dramatic rescue operations of people from raging brown flood waters circulated in state media and on the short message service Weibo. Internet users complained, however, that the state censors also deleted contributions.
The military sent 5,700 soldiers for the rescue and clean-up operations, and 1,800 firefighters were also dispatched, Xinhua news agency reported.
High-speed trains were suspended. Zhengzhou airport suspended all incoming flights until 12 pm (0400 GMT) Wednesday, broadcaster CGTN reported.
In the neighbouring city of Gongyi, the authorities reported four fatalities.
The rains in Henan were triggered by Typhoon In-Fa, which also caused severe weather in the provinces of Zhejiang and Fujian.
Henan province had already been hit by heavy rains that started last week. The water levels of tributaries of the Yellow and Hai rivers exceeded alert levels.
Damage to agriculture was put at 542 million yuan (83.8 million dollars).
Severe storms were also reported in southern China, where another typhoon, named Cempaka, made landfall near the city of Yangjiang in Guangdong province with winds of up to 110 kilometres per hour.
In northern China, there was also severe flooding in Inner Mongolia.
The weather service again warned of heavy rainfall in many provinces.
Especially in southern China, severe floods occur again and again in the summer months, resulting in numerous victims and high economic damages. Many deaths are also frequently caused by landslides.

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