As many as 33 people have lost their lives in the catastrophic flooding in Henan province in central China.
Massive flooding struck the city of Zhengzhou and areas of Henan Province on 20 July 2021 after days of torrential rain. According to state media, as of 22 July, 33 people have lost their lives and 8 are still missing. Around 3 million people have been affected and 376,000 people relocated to safer accommodation.
Images shared on Social Media showed streets of the city of Zhengzhou turned to rivers, with floating cars and residents stranded or wading through flood water up to 1.8 metres deep. The city’s subway was flooded, leaving passengers stranded and some trapped in train carriages up to their chests in flood water. Many were rescued after making their way to safety walking along flooded train tracks.
Massive rescue and relief efforts are still underway to deal with the impact of the floods. Teams from military, police and over 17,000 firefighters from Henan province have been joined by teams of 1,800 firefighters from neighbouring provinces. China’s National Health Commission has dispatched a working group to reinforce emergency and medical response efforts.
Local telecommunication companies are carrying out repairs to at least 6,300 base stations and 275 km of optical fibre cables in Zhengzhou.
Severely affected areas of Henan Province also include Gongyi, Luoyang, Jiaozuo, Dengfeng and Ruzhou. Chinese media said thousands of hectares of farmland have suffered damaged.
Heavy rain has been falling in the province since 17 July, but intensified dramatically on 20 July. Zhengzhou registered a record hourly precipitation 201.9 mm from 16:00 to 17:00 hours, 20 July 2021, which is more than the typical July average.
Figures from China’s National Meteorological Center show Zhengzhou recorded 622.7 mm of rain in just 24 hours to early (local time) 21 July. According to the World Meteorological Organization, the annual average rainfall for the city is 645 mm.
Meteorological researchers in China said the terrain on Henan’s Taihang and Funiu mountains lifted up the easterly air, causing heavy rainfall to persist in the mountainous western and northwestern areas of Henan.
China’s Ministry of Water Resources said levels of small and medium-sized rivers and reservoirs in the Yellow River and Haihe River basins rose rapidly, flooding urban and rural areas alike. As of 22 July, data from the Ministry showed larger rivers in at least 10 locations were above the danger mark.