Record rainfall in central China caused severe floods that have claimed at least a dozen lives, turned city streets into gushing rivers and forced authorities to relocate some 100,000 people and mobilize troops to save dams on the brink of collapse.
Henan province has been pelted by heavy rains since Saturday, with its capital of Zhengzhou among the worst-hit areas. Local news reports and social-media posts showed inundated neighborhoods, submerged cars, residents stranded in schools and workplaces, and flooded subways with commuters standing in water up to chest-deep.
Zhengzhou’s meteorological station said hourly and daily rainfall over recent days have reached record highs, with nearly a year’s worth of rainfall pouring down on the city over just three days, according to a video posted to the station’s official microblog late Tuesday.
Chinese leader Xi Jinping ordered urgent relief efforts to minimize loss of life and property, as well as to prevent postflood outbreaks of disease, according to the official Xinhua News Agency.
Henan is one of China’s most populous provinces, home to more than 99 million residents, and one of its poorest, with an economy reliant on agriculture and industry.