Due to heavy rains that caused the worst flooding in 60 years, several people were killed in Henan Province and thousands were evacuated.
The Chinese army warned that a disaster-stricken dam in central Henan Province was severely damaged during heavy rains, killing at least 12 people and forcing tens of thousands to evacuate, “it may collapse at any time.”
The Meteorological Department of Henan Province and the provincial capital Zhengzhou City raised the emergency response to the rainstorm to the highest level, predicting that the rainstorm will continue until Wednesday night.
Since the weekend, during the extremely active rainy season, storms have swept through Henan Province, causing rivers to burst, flooding the streets of more than a dozen cities, and disrupting the daily lives of millions of people. The Zhengzhou Meteorological Department stated that the rainfall was the highest level on record 60 years ago, and the city reached the annual average rainfall in just three days.
Overnight, the authorities warned that the flood caused a 20-meter (66-foot) dam at the Yihetan dam in Luoyang—a city of about 7 million people—that was at risk of “collapse at any time.”
The Central Theater of the People’s Liberation Army stated that it had sent soldiers to conduct emergency response such as blasting and flood diversion.
“On July 20, a 20-meter dam breach occurred at the Yihe Beach Dam… The river bank was severely damaged and the dam may collapse at any time,” it said in a statement.
With the Shaolin Temple and many other cultural sites, the province is one of the most populous areas in China and a major base for industry and agriculture.
Flooding is common during the rainy season in China, but this threat has become more and more serious over the decades, partly because of the extensive construction of dams and dams.
“I have never seen such a heavy rain”
According to Xinhua, the official news agency, citing local officials, at least 12 people have died in Zhengzhou. Another state-run media, People’s Daily, said the house collapsed.
Some people spend the night in their workplaces or hotels.
Wang Guirong, a 56-year-old restaurant manager, said she planned to sleep on the sofa in the restaurant after being told that there was no electricity nearby.
“I have lived in Zhengzhou all my life and I have never seen such a heavy rain today,” Wang said.
State Grid Zhengzhou Power Supply Company said it was forced to close an urban substation due to rain.
The authorities shut down the flooded subway system in Zhengzhou and cancelled hundreds of flights.
Unconfirmed videos on social media showed passengers in a flooded underground train car in Zhengzhou clutching the handles tightly. The water in the car soared to shoulder height and some people were standing on their seats.
The fire department shared a report on the rescue of passengers from the stranded train on its official Weibo, but did not make a statement of its own.
According to a passenger’s account, fire and rescue personnel opened a hole in the top of her carriage and evacuated the passengers one by one.
The video shows a man sitting on the roof of a partially submerged car in an underground passage.