A large dam near Zhengzhou is at risk of collapsing. People stranded in underground stations. Rail and road networks blocked. Xi Jinping sends 3,000 soldiers and another 1,800 rescuers. After the heaviest rainfall in 1,000 years, 46 rivers in 14 provinces overflowed.
Beijing (AsiaNews) - Floods caused by torrential rain have killed 13 people and forced the evacuation of 100,000 residents in the central province of Henan. The worst hit centre is the provincial capital Zhengzhou; the authorities have issued an alert because of damage caused to a large dam in the area.
Chinese meteorologists described the event as the heaviest rainfall in China in 1,000 years. In Zhengzhou, 209.1 millimetres of rain fell in a single hour; in Germany, which suffered dramatic flooding in recent days, 154 millimetres fell in 24 hours. According to the city's Meteorological Bureau, the 617.8 millimetres of rain recorded over the past three days is the highest figure in 60 years.
National media and social networks circulated pictures and videos of Zhengzhou residents trapped in subways, with water at chest level. The flooding led to an electrical outage, which also affected city hospitals.
Other areas of Henan were flooded, with blocked local rail and road lines. However, the main concern is the condition of the Guojiazui dam, which is at risk of collapse. In addition to the population in the area, the authorities have ordered the evacuation of personnel working at the hydroelectric plant. The dam also supplies the arid regions in the north: the provinces that would suffer the most damage are Beijing, Hebei and Tianjin.
This morning, Xi Jinping ordered the deployment of 3,000 soldiers to help with relief efforts in Henan. Another 1,800 rescuers will arrive from seven provinces of the country. In carrying out the rescue operations, the Chinese president warned to take into account the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. After outbreaks in Guangdong and Yunnan, health authorities yesterday discovered new cases in Nanjing (Jiangsu).
China's Ministry of Water Resources said that heavy rains had caused 46 rivers in 14 provinces to overflow over the past four days.