Parts of China’s central Henan province remained underwater on Wednesday with reports of 25 dead in its capital Zhengzhou after the city was drenched by what weather watchers said was the heaviest rain in decades.
The Chinese province of Henan has issued the highest emergency response level for flood prevention.
Torrential rains flooded regions surrounding a parking lot along Line Five of the subway system in Zhengzhou on Tuesday evening. Heavy waters broke the barriers and rushed into underground trains.
The capital saw a 24-hour rainfall topping 620 millimeters (mm) from Tuesday to Wednesday, close to its average total precipitation in a year, the heaviest hour seeing 201.9 mm of rainfall.
The hourly rainfall is nearly three times that of the 24-hour rainfall in Germany, which is experiencing severe floods as well
Rescue teams responded quickly as 6,000 firefighters were deployed to the disaster zone as well as 3,000 soldiers mobilized by the People’s Liberation Army to aid in relief work.
Civil society groups also joined emergency rescue efforts.
China’s biggest non-profit civil emergency rescue group says it has sent more than 280 members to the flood-hit areas of Henan while neighbouring provinces have also dispatched close to 2,000 rescue workers to help.
The rainstorm has disrupted travel causing delays, interruptions and cancellations.
All inbound flights to Zhengzhou airport were cancelled on Wednesday before noon.
Up to 137 train journeys were disrupted leaving over 2,000 people stranded in the city’s railway stations in Zhengzhou alone.
Chinese President Xi Jinping has called for the safety of people’s lives and property to always be put first.