The central province of Henan in China is in the grip of floods, with reports of at least 25 deaths with some more missing. Local media quotes meteorologists describing the amount of rainfall as "a once in a thousand years” incident. The landslides and flooding that followed played havoc with the underground rail system of Zhengzhou. It was submerged, and the travel plans of commuters went haywire. They were stuck in the tunnel with water all around them, and it was continuously rising. The city has a population of more than 10 million; the rains inundated the streets and subway and made life miserable.

Al Jazeera mentions images people have shared on social media. The sights revealed the agony that the passengers faced in the subway. City officials admitted that a series of rare and heavy rainstorms resulted in the accumulation of water in the Zhengzhou metro. It led to the death of at least twelve people with injuries to five while it was possible to rescue more than 500. Recent floods in Western Europe killed at least 189 people and displaced thousands from their homes.

Floods are common during China’s rainy season

Henan province is one of the most populous regions in China. It is not only a major base for industry and agriculture but is also a travel destination. It is home to the Shaolin Temple and other cultural sites.

Floods are a common feature during the rainy season. However, it has increased because of the widespread construction of dams and levees. Al Jazeera mentions that there was a shutdown of the power supply in one of the substations because of the rain. There was also disruption of train services and cancellation of hundreds of flights.

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The floodwaters cut off schools and hospitals. There was no power in a hospital that has more than 7,000 beds. The authorities were trying to locate alternative facilities for some critically ill patients.

Firefighters and troops deployed to regions affected by floods

Al Jazeera says excessive rainfall led to the collapse of walls in the city of Gongyi.

Multiple landslides aggravated the situation. The incessant rains saw rivers bursting their banks, and the floods disturbed millions of lives. Zhengzhou is 431 miles southeast of Beijing. Weathermen there said the rainfall in the city was unimaginable. Within just three days, it witnessed rainfall equivalent to a year. There was the deployment of soldiers on emergency response duties. President Xi Jinping wants authorities at all levels to assign priority to ensure the safety of people. They should also implement flood prevention and disaster relief measures.

Floods in a subway tunnel in Zhengzhou

According to Sky News, 500 people were rescued from floodwaters in a subway tunnel in Zhengzhou.

There was the loss of lives, and commuters faced chest-deep waters in the dark. Thousands had to be rescued from different locations as dams and reservoirs reached critical levels. The Zhengzhou weather bureau said the three days of rain was a rare phenomenon. Those caught up in the floods sought shelters in libraries, cinemas, and museums. The People's Liberation Army sent their soldiers to assist in search and rescue operations. Scientists claim the floods in China could have links to global warming like the heatwaves in the United States and Canada and the floods in Europe. A professor of atmospheric science at Hong Kong says: "Such extreme weather events will likely become more frequent in the future." He adds governments need to develop strategies to adapt to such changes.