At Least 25 Dead as Rains Deluge Central China’s Henan Province

July 21, 2021 Updated: July 21, 2021

BEIJING—At least 25 people have died in China’s flood-stricken central province of Henan, a dozen of them in a subway line in its capital Zhengzhou, and more rains are forecast for the region.

About 100,000 people have been evacuated in Zhengzhou, an industrial and transport hub, where rail and road links were disrupted. Dams and reservoirs have swelled to warning levels in the province.

Twelve people died and more than 500 were pulled to safety after a subway tunnel flooded, state media reported, while social media images showed train commuters immersed in chest-deep waters in the dark and one station reduced to a large brown pool.

“The water reached my chest,” a survivor wrote on social media. “I was really scared, but the most terrifying thing was not the water, but the diminishing air supply in the carriage.”

China flood
Cars sit in floodwaters after heavy rains hit the city of Zhengzhou in central China’s Henan Province on July 21, 2021. (STR/AFP via Getty Images)

The rain halted bus services in the city of 12 million people about 650 km (400 miles) southwest of Beijing, said a resident surnamed Guo, who had to spend the night at his office.

“That’s why many people took the subway, and the tragedy happened,” Guo told Reuters.

At least 25 people have died in the torrential rains that have lashed the province since last weekend, with seven missing, officials told a news conference on Wednesday.

The actual number of casualties is difficult to verify, as the Chinese regime routinely suppresses or alters information.

Media said the dead included four residents of the city of Gongyi, located on the banks of the Yellow River like Zhengzhou, following the widespread collapse of homes and structures because of the rains.

More rain is forecast across Henan for the next three days.

From Saturday to Tuesday, 617.1 mm (24.3 inches) of rain fell in Zhengzhou, almost the equivalent of its annual average of 640.8 mm (25.2 inches).

China flood
People are wading through floodwaters along a street following heavy rains in Zhengzhou in central China’s Henan Province on July 20, 2021. (STR/AFP via Getty Images)

Dam Breach

Many train services were suspended across Henan, a logistics hub with a population of about 100 million. Highways have also been closed and flights delayed or cancelled.

By Wednesday, media said food and water supplies had run out for hundreds of passengers stranded on a train that had stopped just beyond the city limits of Zhengzhou two days earlier.

Roads were severely flooded in a dozen cities of the province.

Dozens of reservoirs and dams breached danger levels.

Local authorities said the rainfall had caused a 20-meter breach in the Yihetan dam in the city of Luoyang west of Zhengzhou, and that the dam could collapse at any time.

In Zhengzhou itself, where about 100,000 people have been evacuated, the Guojiazui reservoir had been breached but there was no dam failure yet.

China Flooding
People move through flood water after a heavy downpour in Zhengzhou city, central China’s Henan province on July 20, 2021. (Chinatopix Via AP)

Schools, Hospitals Cut Off

Taiwan’s Foxconn, which operates a plant in Zhengzhou assembling iPhones for Apple, said there was no direct impact on the facility.

China’s largest automaker, SAIC Motor, warned of short-term impact on logistics at its plant there, while Japan’s Nissan said production at its factory had been suspended.

Schools and hospitals were marooned and people caught in the floods flocked to shelter in libraries, cinemas and museums.

The neighboring province of Hebei issued a storm alert for some cities, including Shijiazhuang, its capital, warning of moderate to heavy rain from Wednesday.

Epoch Times staff contributed to this report