With death toll from the ongoing harsh weather conditions reportedly hitting 33, the Chinese government has begun evacuating thousands from the country’s central region as torrential rains continue to wreaked havoc in the region.
According to reports, several cities are struggling to contain weather-related damages as fast-moving floods pulled many vehicles at the entryway of a tunnel in Zhengzhou, the capital of the country’s Henan province, where 12 people were killed when a subway flooded. Meanwhile, in the neighboring province of Hebei, a tornado hit the city of Baoding, with two fatalities reported so far.
Images in the media showed travelers trapped in chest-deep water in unilluminated subway compartments, with one subway station completely reduced to a big churning pool.
Following the deadly flooding of the Zhengzhou subway, the government directed local authorities to strengthen urban transportation flood controls and emergency response procedures as soon as possible.
According to the Ministry of Transport, local governments must quickly re-examine and correct any concealed risks to the rail transit system.
The ministry stated that in exceptional cases like excessively severe rainstorms, transit authorities must take emergency actions such as stopping trains, evacuating passengers, and closing stations.
As the extreme weather moved towards the north, more cities were flooded, and crops completely destroyed, with the nation’s state-run official news agency, Xinhua, reporting direct financial losses from the storm being around the 1.22 billion yuan mark, ($189 million) thus far.
On Thursday, the provincial meteorological bureau raised the storm alarm for four cities, Anyang, Xinxiang, Jiaozuo, and Hebi, in Henan's northern region, to red, the highest tier of a four-tier, color-coded weather warning system.
According to the Xinhua news agency, over 73,000 individuals were being evacuated from the city of Anyang, located on the border of Henan and Hebei province, after it has hit by an astounding 600mm of rain since the start of the week.
The news agency also reported that a small city situated north of Zhengzhou, called Xinxiang, experienced more than 812 mm of rain between Tuesday and Thursday, breaking local weather records.
Many towns and villages near Xinxiang are also facing the impacts of heavy rain as seven medium-sized reservoirs in the city had overflowed.