China’s military has blown up a dam to release floods that threaten one of the most densely populated provinces in the country, as the death toll from widespread flooding rose to at least 33.
The dam operation was carried out on Tuesday night in Luoyang city, just as severe flooding overwhelmed Henan provincial capital Zhengzhou, trapping residents in the subway system and stranding them in schools, apartments. and offices.
Seven other people were reported missing, provincial officials said at a news conference.
The equivalent of a year of rain in three days that swallows an underground line and turns the streets into rivers.
A video posted to Twitter by news site The Paper showed subway passengers standing in chest-deep, muddy brown water as torrents roared in the outer tunnel.
A blackout turned off fans at Zhengzhou University’s First Affiliated Hospital, forcing staff to use hand-pumped airbags to help patients breathe, according to the city’s Communist Party committee. He said that more than 600 patients were being transferred to other hospitals.
A woman aboard a subway in a flooded tunnel told her husband that the water was nearly up to his neck and passengers were having trouble breathing, the Henan Business Daily newspaper reported.
She said that staff at a subway station told her husband that all the passengers had been evacuated, but acknowledged that this was not the case after he initiated a video chat with his wife on his cell phone showing that she was still away. board.
The precise times and locations of the deaths and disappearances were not immediately clear, although the province said more than 100,000 people have been evacuated to safety.
Given the magnitude of the disaster, President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for mobilization after the “extremely severe” floods.
The government has released 100 million yuan (13 million euros) in emergency aid for Henan.
More than 200,000 hectares of crops have been devoured, the damage is estimated at 1.22 billion yuan (160 million euros), according to authorities.
Henan province has many cultural sites and is an important base for industry and agriculture. It is crossed by multiple waterways, many of them linked to the Yellow River, which has a long history of flooding during periods of heavy rainfall.
State media showed waist-high waters Wednesday, with rain still falling.
North of Zhengzhou, the famous Shaolin Temple, known for its mastery of the martial arts of its Buddhist monks, was also severely affected.
The national weather service is forecasting more rain ahead of a hiatus on Friday. But further north, in Hebei, the province that surrounds Beijing, some areas have been placed on red alert.
China routinely experiences floods during the summer, but the growth of cities and the conversion of agricultural land into subdivisions has worsened the impact of such events.
The impact of climate change is being cited as the reason for the floods, the most serious in the region since records began 60 years ago.
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres sent a letter to President Xi Jinping “to convey his deepest condolences on the tragic loss of life and devastation,” UN Deputy Spokesman Farhan Haq said on Wednesday.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism