Central China’s Henan Province is experiencing its heaviest rainfall in over 60 years and the rainfall is causing devastating flooding in numerous cities including the province’s capital city, Zhengzhou. On Tuesday, July 20 torrential rains flooded roads and subways, trapping motorists and commuters causing an unknown number of casualties.
The heavy rainfall burst the banks of several major river systems in the area flooding streets in many cities in Henan Province and forcing the province to suspend railway services.
Photos and videos of the disaster appear to show multiple drowned corpses, including those of people who were trapped in Zhengzhou’s subway system.
According to the national meteorological observatory, precipitation in Zhengzhou reached 201.9 millimeters per hour breaking the previous record of 198.5 millimeters set in 1975.
Between the hours of 8 pm on Saturday, July 17 to 8 pm Tuesday, July 20 a total of 617.1 millimeters of rain fell on the city of Zhengzhou. The average annual precipitation in Zhengzhou is 640.8 millimeters.
“A red alert has been issued. Zhengzhou authorities have enhanced surveillance to local rivers, reservoirs and infrastructure construction, and have suspended the operations of companies at risk and those with furnaces to prevent accidents,” reported the state-run Global Times.
Experts are blaming the torrential rains on Typhoon In-fa which developed over the Philipine Sea and slammed into China. Typhoon In-fa is the ninth depression of the 2021 Pacific typhoon season.
Since July 16, more than 144,660 residents have been affected by the torrential rains in Henan and 10,152 people have been relocated to safe ground, reported Xinhua News Agency on Tuesday. However, the number affected is suspected of being grossly underestimated as flooding is occurring across Henan, which with 99 million residents is one of China’s most populous provinces.
Forecasts are calling for continued rainfall in the central, western and northern areas of China over the next 24 hours.
State media claim no casualties, video shows drowned subway passengers
China’s Global Times reported that, “some passengers were trapped in the Line 5 subway in Zhengzhou by waist-high floods on Tuesday afternoon,” adding that “rescuers noted that the water has subsided in the subway and all passengers were safe.”
However, disturbing photos and videos have surfaced online that appear to show a number of people who had drowned while trapped in the subway cars.
Two videos have surfaced; one shows two individuals that appear to have drowned while in one of the subway cars and another shows numerous bodies (warning: disturbing content) laid out on a subway platform wet and lifeless.
The flooding is also being blamed for an explosion at an aluminum plant in Dengfeng, Henan after water surged through the factory walls and hit a high-temperature solution tank, resulting in a massive fireball at the facility. It’s currently being reported that no injuries or fatalities are believed to have occured at the plant.
China’s rainy season typically lasts from late spring into early summer and regularly produces heavy rainfall and flooding. This year’s rainy season, like floods that pummeled central China last year, has been one of the worst in decades.