Parts of China have been hit by “the heaviest rains in 1,000 years” – with footage showing underground train cars filling with water.
More than eight inches of rain fell in Zhengzhou City, Henan Province, in a single hour on Tuesday. In recent European floods, the most affected regions of Germany seen 18.2 cm over three days.
At least 12 people have died in the floods and 100,000 have been forced to flee their homes, according to China’s state news agency Xinhua.
Photos and videos from the area showed torrents of water pouring through the streets, with rescuers working to evacuate those who had become trapped.
Electricity has been cut in parts of the city, trains have been suspended, roads have been closed and flights have been delayed.
Social media posts have shown commuters trapped waist-deep in floodwater in a subway train.
One internet user wrote on social media: “The water outside the cabin was rising and leaking out the door.
“The water reached my chest.
“I was really scared, but the most terrifying thing was not the water, but the increasingly reduced air supply in the cabin.”
Sky News Asia correspondent Tom Cheshire tweeted: “Very distressing scenes in Zhengzhou right now with severe flooding. People trapped in the subway – some rescued but other videos appear to show corpses. “
Zhengzhou, the capital of Henan, has a population of over 10 million and is located on the bank of the Yellow River – one of the Chinaof the largest rivers.
Other towns in Henan – including Ruzhou – were also ravaged by the waters.
The Shaolin Temple in Dengfeng had to close, and an aluminum factory in the city exploded, sending water into the facility.
The Longmen Caves – a UNESCO World Heritage Site with Buddhas carved into limestone dating back to AD 500 – are also threatened by flooding.
More than 30 reservoirs in Henan have exceeded their warning levels, and overnight rainfall caused a 20-meter breach in the Yihetan Dam in Luoyang City west of Zhengzhou.
In Zhengzhou, the flood control headquarters said the city’s Guojiazui reservoir had been breached.
From Saturday to Tuesday, 3,535 weather stations in Henan recorded rainfall greater than 5 cm, of which 1,614 had levels greater than 10 cm and 151 greater than 25 cm.
Speaking on state television, Chinese President Xi Jinping said, “The flood prevention efforts have become very difficult.
Flooding is not uncommon in China during the rainy season, but the expansion of cities and the conversion of farmland into housing have put more people at risk.
Forecasters predict the showers will end by Thursday.