The cities of Xingyang and Changyuan in central China’s Henan Province have raised flood control levels from I to II, the highest in the country’s four-tier scale, as local authorities warn that floods of unprecedented strength could occur simultaneously and cause dam collapses.
Made on Sunday, Aug. 22, the announcements come a month after massive floods in Zhengzhou, the capital of Henan, caused the deaths of at least several thousand people, based on footage taken in the city and eyewitness accounts. Official figures put the number of fatalities in the hundreds.
“This summer’s rains are adding pressure on China’s economy, already struggling with sporadic cases of Delta strain of coronavirus,” Reuters reports. Some factories have been forced to halt production because of the floods.
Henan’s newest flood alerts came after the region forecasted that over 100 mm, or four inches, of rain would fall within three hours. Other flood warnings have been issued in southwest China’s Sichuan Province and Heilongjiang, Northeast China.
Last week, Chinese premier Li Keqiang announced that officials in Zhengzhou were being disciplined over their disastrous response to the floods in that city, during which residents were given very little forewarning. The waters trapped people in the subway system and in a congested tunnel, leading to the large number of apparent deaths.
In light of the flood warnings, Henan suspended port and wharf production, while trains to and from Zhengzhou experienced delays and cancellations. Schools, public transit, and some businesses have been shuttered until at least the evening of Aug. 23.
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