25 killed, over 1 million affected as floods hit central China
Beijing: At least 25 people, including 12 subway passengers, were killed when the heaviest rainfall in 1,000 years hit China's central Henan province, prompting President Xi Jinping on Wednesday to deploy the Army to rescue those trapped in inundated subways, hotels and public places.
A total of 1.24 million (12.4 lakh) people were affected and 1,60,000 evacuated, state-run Global Times reported.
The official media quoted local officials as saying that 25 people were killed and seven others listed missing in the massive floods.
Twelve people were killed and five others injured when subway stations were hit by the floods, the report said
They died when their subway train was hit with rapidly rising floodwaters on Tuesday night, the Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post reported.
Two people were also killed when a wall collapsed.
The massive floods, described by meteorologists as a once-in-a-lifetime event, has resulted in apocalyptic scenes in the provincial capital Zhengzhou, a metropolis of 12.6 million, with its public avenues and subway tunnels getting submerged with surging waters.
Videos posted on the Chinese social media showed petrified passengers trapped in subway trains clinging on to handlebars desperately waiting for help as floodwaters raised up to their necks.
Official media released videos of rescue workers helping people stuck in subway tunnels to safety.
Videos showed people trying to wade through floods in the downtown of the city while scores of cars and other vehicles washed away. Some videos also showed people falling into the massive cave-ins of the roads. Rainwater poured into the subway tunnel of the city's Line Five, trapping an unknown number of passengers aboard a subway train.
Xi ordered the deployment of the People's Liberation Army (PLA) and said that authorities at all levels must give top priority to ensuring people's safety and property as massive floods ravaged the province and Zhengzhou city.
The PLA Central Theatre Command urgently dispatched troops to a county in rain-hit Henan where a dam is under threat of collapse due to serious damage caused by the rains, state-run Xinhua news agency reported.
The PLA, on its social media account on Sina Weibo, China's Twitter-like social media platform, said that a 20-meter-long crevasse had appeared in the dam in Yichuan county of Henan province, and could collapse any time.
The downtown area of Zhengzhou received an average precipitation of 457.5 mm within 24 hours on Tuesday, the highest daily rainfall since the weather record began, Xinhua reported.
Henan is home to many cultural sites and a major base for industry and agriculture. Reports said that Shaolin Temple, known for its Buddhist monks' mastery of martial arts, was also severely hit by floods.
Heavy waterlogging has led to the virtual paralysis of the city's road traffic.
Over 80 bus lines have been suspended, more than 100 temporarily detoured and the subway service has also been temporarily suspended.