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China floods: People trapped as underground trains fill with water after heaviest rain in 1000 years

The city of Zhengzhou was drenched by the heaviest rain in 1,000 years


arts of China have been hit by deadly rain storms with footage showing underground trains filling with water and cars floating down flooded roads.

More than 20cm of rain fell in an hour on the city of Zhengzhou which saw the heaviest rain in 1,000 years, according to weather watchers.

The recent floods in Europe saw 18.2cm of rain fall over three days in the worst affected areas of Germany, claiming dozens of lives.

Zhengzhou, the capital of Henan province, saw 100,000 people forced to flee their homes in the rain torrents on Tuesday.

At least 12 people died in a flooded subway line while more than 500 were pulled to safety, according to local government.

The already drenched city was hit by 20cm of rain from 4 to 5pm, turning streets into rapidly flowing rivers.

Videos posted online showed commuters chest-deep in water on a train in the dark and an underground station turned into a large, churning pool.

“The water reached my chest. I was really scared, but the most terrifying thing was not the water, but the increasingly diminishing air supply in the carriage,” a survivor wrote on social media.

Entire neighbourhoods were covered in waist-deep water, vehicles were washed away and people were stranded at work overnight.

To the north of Zhengzhou, the famed Shaolin Temple known for its Buddhist monks’ mastery of martial arts, was also badly hit.

Wang Guirong, a 56-year-old restaurant manager, said she planned to sleep on the couch in her restaurant after being told there was no power in her neighborhood.

“I have lived in Zhengzhou all my life and have never seen such a heavy rainstorm as today,” she added.

The State Grid Zhengzhou Power Supply Co said a downtown substation was forced to shut down because of the rain.

China floods in Zhengzhou

/ AFP via Getty Images

Rising Rivers in China

Zhengzhou has a population of more than 12 million people on the banks of the Yellow River which is one of the largest waterways in China.

It is also home to many cultural sites and a major base for industry and agriculture.

The Henan region has experienced an unusually active rainy season that has led to the rapid rise of a number of rivers in the basin.

Many train services across Henan, a major logistics hub in central China, have been suspended, many highways have been closed and flights delayed or cancelled.

Taiwanese technology giant Foxconn operates a plant on the outskirts of Zhengzhou, next to the city’s airport, that assembles iPhones for Apple. The company said it had activated an emergency response plan for flood control.

“We can confirm that there has been no direct impact on our facility in that location to date,” it said in a statement.

Dozens of reservoirs and dams breached warning levels and roads in a dozen cities have been flooded.

Local authorities said the rainfall had caused a 20-metre breach in the Yihetan dam in Luoyang city west of Zhengzhou, and that the dam “could collapse at any time”.

In Zhengzhou, the local flood control headquarters said the city’s Guojiazui reservoir had been breached.

China experiences regular flooding during the summer, but the growth of cities and conversion of farmland into subdivisions has raised the impact of such events.

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