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China's rain-ravaged Henan activates highest level emergency response

Xinhua | Updated: 2021-07-21 09:00
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Photo taken on July 21, 2021 shows the scene after flood in Mihe town of Gongyi city, Central China's Henan province. Mihe town suffered great damage due to the heavy rainfall on July 20. The town once lost contact with outside with its power and communication interrupted. [Photo/Xinhua]

ZHENGZHOU -- Central China's Henan province on Wednesday initiated its highest-level emergency response to flooding, as rain-triggered disasters have caused at least 12 deaths and five injures.

The Henan provincial flood control and drought relief headquarters activated Level I emergency response at 3 am Wednesday.

So far, 12 people have been confirmed dead as a result of torrential rain in the downtown area of Zhengzhou, the provincial capital. At approximately 6 pm Tuesday, Zhengzhou Metro halted all its services, after many areas of the city suffered severe waterlogging.

Meanwhile, more than 160 trains at Zhengzhou East Railway Station were suspended, with a large number of passengers stranded.

From July 16 to 3 pm Tuesday, torrential rain affected over 280,000 residents of Henan's 31 counties and districts, and 14,680 people were relocated to safe places. Rainwater has damaged approximately 20,000 hectares of crops.

Mihe township in Gongyi city, which is administered by Zhengzhou, has been flooded by heavy rain, with over 20,000 people affected. Further rescue work and search for the missing are underway.

Heavy rains were recorded at 794 meteorological stations in the province, including five national meteorological observation stations that reported the highest daily rainfalls since weather records began in Henan.

Notably, from 8 pm on July 17 to 8 pm Tuesday, total precipitation of 617.1 mm was recorded in Zhengzhou, close to the city's average annual precipitation of 640.8 mm, said the city's meteorological bureau.

The city registered 201.9 mm of precipitation from 4 pm to 5 pm on Tuesday, a record hourly high for Chinese mainland. The city also broke its own single-day precipitation record, hitting its highest level since Zhengzhou's weather station was established in 1951.

For four consecutive days starting on July 17, torrential rains have battered central and western areas of Henan Province and are expected to continue until Wednesday night, according to Zhang Ning, chief forecaster of the provincial meteorological observatory.

Zhang said that the special terrain on Henan's Taihang and Funiu mountains had uplifted the easterly air, causing heavy rainfall to persist in the mountainous western and northwestern areas of Henan.

The heavy rain has significantly increased the risk of mountain torrents and geological disasters in the mountainous western and northwestern regions of the province.

The water levels of small and medium-sized rivers and reservoirs in the Yellow River and Haihe River basins have risen rapidly, and large-scale urban waterlogging and farmland waterlogging have occurred.

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