Central China hit with heavy floods, leaving subway passengers trapped in waist-high floodwaters

Subway passengers in China’s central Henan province were left trapped in carriages flooded with water on Tuesday after heavy rains caused rivers to burst their banks.

In disturbing footage published on social media, subway passengers in Zhengzhou, Henan’s capital, could be seen standing in a pool of muddied water, waiting for rescue.

In a video posted on Weibo, the Henan Fire Department said it was working to rescue passengers from the train line.

Meanwhile, city streets were transformed into rivers, with vehicles submerged in torrential waters.

According to China’s Xinhua News Agency, more than 144,660 residents have been affected by the torrential rains and subsequent flooding, with more than 10,000 people forced to flee to safe ground.

In a statement published on the Zhengzhou local government’s website, the city warned that the “flood control situation is grim,” with the risk of disaster “extremely high.”

In a separate statement published on the government’s official WeChat account, officials warned residents to stay home or in a safe place and to remain alert for updates.

So far, no deaths have been reported in connection with the floods, according to Reuters.

A disaster relief emergency dispatch meeting was held on Tuesday, the city said, with Xu Liyi, a member of the Standing Committee of the Provincial Party Committee and Secretary of the Municipal Party Committee, leading the talks.

The major floods come as heavy rains have pounded Henan, a province twice the size of Austria, for days since the weekend.

It is expected that the downpour could continue until Thursday.

During Tuesday’s emergency meeting, Xu said such high levels of rainfall was a rare occurrence in Henan.

In the midst of the flooding, train services have had to be suspended in the midst of the heavy floods, while many highways have been closed and flights delayed or cancelled entirely.

There are also fears that the flooding could threaten important landmarks, with the rising Yi River posing a risk to the Longmen Grottoes, a UNESCO World Heritage site featuring ancient Buddhist statues near the city of Luoyang.

According to UNESCO’s website, the grottoes contain the “largest and most impressive collection of Chinese art of the late Northern Wei and Tang Dynasties.”

The incident unfolds as Germany and other parts of western Europe grapple with the impact of severe flooding that has left at least 197 people dead, with at least 300 others missing and 749 injured, according to police and affected regional governments.

The floods in western Europe, along with the recent deadly heatwave seen in parts of the western United States and Canada have placed a fresh focus on the climate crisis, with politicians and climate experts alike warning that the global community must ramp up its efforts to combat climate change.

Ed Flanagan contributed.

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