Chinese river bursts trapping subway passengers in waist-high floodwaters

The Chinese province of Henan experienced heavy rainfall on Tuesday, resulting in banks of major rivers bursting, flooding dozen of cities, and trapping subway passengers in waist-high floodwaters.

Henan is twice the size of Austria and has been suffering through storms that began last weekend. So far no deaths or casualties have been reported, however, the lives of the 94 million people residing in the province have been upended by the closure of transport services.

The capital of Henan, Zhengzhou, located on the banks of the Yellow River, experienced rainfall of over 200 mm for an hour on Tuesday, halting the city’s subway services. Videos have emerged on various social media platforms showcasing subway users in waist-deep floodwater. Henan is a major logistics hub and saw its train services suspended, whereas several highways too were closed and flights were delayed or canceled.

The rising levels of the Yi River threatened to disrupt lives in Longmen Grottoes, a UNESCO World Heritage site that features millennium-old Buddhist statues. Like the Longmen Grottoes, the Shaolin Temple in Dengfeng city, famous in the West for its martial arts, has been temporarily shut.

From Saturday to Tuesday, 3,535 weather stations in Henan saw rainfall exceeding 50 mm, of which 1,614 registered levels above 100 mm and 151 above 250 mm.

“This is the heaviest rain since I was born, with so many familiar places flooded,” said an internet user in the inundated city of Gongyi on Chinese social media.