12 dead in flooded metro as torrential rains hit central China (officials)


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Beijing (AFP)

Twelve people have died after torrential rains flooded the metro in central China’s Zhengzhou City, authorities said on Wednesday, as shocking images of passengers battling the water up to their necks to their heads. interior of a wagon appeared on social networks.

The city of more than 10 million people in Henan Province “has experienced a series of rare and severe thunderstorms, causing water to accumulate in the Zhengzhou metro,” city officials said in a report. from Weibo, adding that 12 people died and five were injured.

Authorities have issued the highest alert level for Henan province as record flooding hits the province.

Seasonal flooding is common in China, but scientists say climate change is causing increasingly extreme weather conditions.

Images have poured into Chinese social media showing dramatic rescues of pedestrians in Zhengzhou from torrents gushing through the streets.

The Chinese military has warned that a stricken dam in the center of the country “could collapse at any time” after being severely damaged by torrential storms that killed at least three people and crippled the region.

On Tuesday evening, the regional unit of the People’s Liberation Army warned that the relentless downpour had caused a 20-meter breach in the Yihetan Dam in Luoyang – a city of around seven million people – with the risk. that it “can collapse at any time.”

The PLA’s central theater command said it had sent soldiers to carry out an emergency response, including explosions and flood diversions.

“On July 20, a 20-meter breach occurred at the Yihetan dam (…) the bank was severely damaged and the dam may collapse at any time,” the statement said.

Annual flooding during the rainy season in China causes chaos and destroys roads, crops and homes.

But the threat has worsened over the decades, in part due to the widespread construction of dams and dikes that cut connections between the river and adjacent lakes and disrupted floodplains that had helped to absorb the surge. summer.

Authorities said the rainfall was the heaviest since records began 60 years ago, with the city recording the equivalent of a year’s average rainfall in just three days.

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