After deadly floods upended life in Western Europe last week, now it’s China that is enduring the wrath of extreme weather. At least 33 people have died in what is being described as the “heaviest rainfall in a millennium” in central China’s Henan province. Drone videos show the extent of the devastation…
Torrential rains have been battering Henan, which is home to some 99 million people, since last weekend. According to weather and climate scientists, a year’s worth of rainfall has been dumped in China in just three days. With all flood defenses getting overwhelmed, entire neighborhoods have been submerged, passengers have been trapped in subway cars, and scores of houses and structures have been swallowed up by mudslides.
As a result, hundreds of thousands of people have been displaced. At least 100,000 people have been evacuated in Zhengzhou alone – an industrial and transport hub that produces more than half the world’s iPhones. Also in Zhengzhou, 12 people died on Tuesday after being trapped for hours on a flooded subway line.
Meanwhile, with rivers and dams breaching warning levels, the military has been forced to blow up a dam to release floodwaters in the city of Luoyang, west of Zhengzhou.
The economic damage from the calamity is being estimated at about $190 million. But with more rains still being forecast, this number, along with the death toll, is expected to increase.
The severity of the flooding has been captured by numerous drone videos.
Drone videos of terrifying China floods
This drone footage shows an inundated residential area in Zhengzhou, where the water level on the ground has reached as high as 1.5 meters:
In the below drone footage, you can see a pile of vehicles that have been swept away by the water, blocking a highway in Zhengzhou:
The drone video below shows the broader Zhengzhou area where rains have turned streets into rapidly flowing rivers:
While summer flooding is a regular event in China, climate scientists say that the hasty growth of cities and the conversion of farmland into industrial land have increased the impact of such events.
Johnny Chan, a professor of atmospheric science at City University of Hong Kong, tells Reuters:
Such extreme weather events will likely become more frequent in the future. What is needed is for governments to develop strategies to adapt to such changes.
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