China floods: Death toll at 33, thousands evacuated from Henan province
Floods in China have left 33 people dead till now while several more remain missing still, news agencies reported on Thursday citing officials familiar with the development. Tens of thousands of people are reportedly being evacuated from the flood-hit province of Henan, one of the most heavily populated provinces in central China where heavy rains over the week have inundated key areas and destroyed crops.
China's military has blasted open a dam to release the floodwater threatening the Henan province, the Associated Press reported, adding that the death toll is likely to climb further.
The floods in China have resulted in direct economic losses worth 1.22 billion yuan ($189 million) so far, the Xinhua news agency reported. As of late Wednesday, more than 470,000 people and over 55,000 hectares of crops have been affected by the heavy downpours in Xinxiang, a small city north of the provincial capital of Zhengzhou, Xinhua added. The local government reportedly deployed more than 76,000 personnel, part of a search and rescue team.
Among those who died were 12 people who could not be rescued from a subway in Zhengzhou when the floodwater drowned the trapped individuals in the narrow underpass. The fatal flooding prompted the government to order local authorities to immediately improve urban transit flood controls and emergency responses.
More than 73,000 people were being evacuated from the city of Anyang, on Henan's border with Hebei province, after being swamped by more than 600 mm of rainfall since Monday, Xinhua reported.
China has raised a red storm alert for four cities in the north of Henan -- Xinxiang, Anyang, Hebi, and Jiaozuo. The red alert is the highest state of storm alert in a four-tier colour-coded weather warning system followed by the country. The provincial weather bureau told state media it had issued a report warning of the coming torrential rains two days in advance.