China: “extremely serious” floods, twelve dead in the metro and 200,000 evacuees – World

Passengers who cling to the handles while the water rises in their train. The chaos scenes in Zhengzhou on Tuesday caused concern in the country. The army was called in to reinforce this city of ten million inhabitants 700 km south of Beijing, which received in three days almost the equivalent of a year of rain.

This Wednesday morning, no less than 200,000 inhabitants had to be evacuated, announced the town hall, specifying that 36,000 people were “affected” by the floods. The city “has experienced a series of rare and severe thunderstorms, causing water to accumulate in the Zhengzhou metro,” local authorities said on the Weibo social network, adding that twelve people were killed and five others were killed. injured.

The metropolis was placed on red alert on Tuesday. This is the highest alert level for weather in China. National CCTV television showed city streets submerged in a huge stream of muddy water, as residents with knee-deep water pushed their vehicles through flooded arteries.

According to the People’s Daily, the organ of the ruling Communist Party, the bad weather caused houses to collapse. But it was in the metro that the situation seemed most dramatic. Videos on social media, the authenticity of which has not been verified, showed passengers in a wagon, hanging from the handles, as water rushes to their shoulders, and others standing on the seats. Images broadcast by public television CCTV showed water invading the deserted platform of a station.

Through the roof of an oar

A passenger told on Weibo that rescuers had opened the roof of his train to allow the evacuation, one by one, of the passengers. Other footage showed a passenger seated on the roof of his wagon half-submerged in a tunnel.

Relatives of Zhengzhou residents expressed concern. ” The first floor [des logements] is he in danger? My parents live there but I can’t reach them, ”wrote one Weibo user. ” I’m very worried “.

President Xi Jinping called for mobilization in the face of bad weather. “Dams have collapsed, causing serious injuries, deaths and damage. The situation on the flood front is extremely serious, ”he said, according to statements reported by national television.

Also in Henan province, near the former capital of Luoyang, the army announced that a dam threatens to collapse after a 20-meter breach appeared in the structure. The city of Luoyang, west of Zhengzhou, has a population of around seven million. The Yihetan roadblock “can give way at any moment,” the military warned.

Soldiers deployed along other waterways in the region to reinforce the banks with sandbags. According to Chinese authorities, the rains in the region were the heaviest on record since the weather phenomena were compiled 60 years ago.

Floods hit China regularly during the summer, with a death toll that reached several thousand in 1998 in the Yangtze region, further south. Both Zhengzhou and Luoyang are close to the Yellow River, whose floods have been frequently fatal in Chinese history. Scientists believe, however, that climate change is increasing the risk of flooding around the world.

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