Chinese city battered by storms as subway floods

At least one person died and two more were missing since heavy rain began battering Zhengzhou on Monday, according to the state-run People's Daily, which reported that houses have collapsed.

Pedestrians (bottom) with umbrellas cross a road in Hong Kong on July 20, 2021, as weather patterns from Typhoon Cempaka brings heavy rain to the city. Picture: Isaac Lawrence Typhoon Cempaka/ AFP

BEIJING, China - A Chinese city hit by torrential storms that killed at least three people closed its flooded subway system on Tuesday and cancelled hundreds of flights, as it braces for further severe downpours.

At least one person died and two more were missing since heavy rain began battering Zhengzhou on Monday, according to the state-run People's Daily, which reported that houses have collapsed.

Local media reported earlier that two people had been killed when a wall collapsed in another district of the city.

According to the Zhengzhou weather authorities, the rainfall was the highest recorded since records began sixty years ago.

Unverified videos on social media showed passengers in a flooded underground train carriage in central Zhengzhou clinging to handles as the water surged to shoulder height, with some standing on seats.

Water could be seen gushing through an empty underground platform in state broadcaster CCTV's footage.

The city's subway operator said in a statement on Tuesday that it would close all stations on all its lines due to the bad weather.

On its official Weibo account, the fire service shared reports that passengers were being rescued from stranded trains, but did not post its own statement.

One passenger's account said fire and rescue workers had opened a hole in the roof of her carriage and evacuated passengers one by one.

Weather authorities have issued the highest warning level for central Henan province, as CCTV showed submerged cars, shuttered shops and residents of flooded streets being rescued in rafts, one clutching a baby. While Hong Kong has been hit by Typhoon Cempaka.

Footage showed one man sitting on top of his half-submerged car in an underpass.

More than 10,000 people had been evacuated as of Tuesday afternoon, said provincial authorities, warning that 16 reservoirs had seen water rise to dangerous levels as downpours ruined thousands of acres of crops and caused damage amounting to around $11 million.

Around 260 flights have been cancelled.

Floods are common during China's rainy season, which causes annual chaos and washes away roads, crops and houses.

But the threat has worsened over the decades, due in part to widespread construction of dams and levees that have cut connections between the river and adjacent lakes and disrupt floodplains that had helped absorb the summer surge.

Earlier this month hundreds of flights were cancelled in the capital Beijing and other nearby cities with schools and tourist sites closed as torrential downpours and gale-force winds battered the region.

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