Chinese city picks debris after record rains kill 33


AFP- Piles of cars were strewn across a central Chinese city Thursday as shocked residents picked through the debris of a historic deluge that claimed at least 33 lives, with more heavy rain threatening surrounding regions.

An unprecedented downpour dumped a year’s rain in just three days on the city of Zhengzhou, weather officials said, instantly overwhelming drains and sending torrents of muddy, swirling water through streets, road tunnels and the subway system.

Hundreds of thousands of people in the surrounding area have been affected by the flood, authorities said, as farmland was inundated and road and rail links severed.

In worst-hit Zhengzhou, grim images of the horror inside the subway system were relayed in real-time over social media, showing water rising during Tuesday’s rush hour from the ankles of passengers to their necks.

At least a dozen people died before rescuers were able to cut survivors free from carriages.

As the water retreated — with piles of cars a monument to its deadly power — residents prepared for another day of bad weather, moving vehicles to higher ground and trying to plot journeys out from the stricken city, where communications and power were still patchy.

Trucks pumped muddy water from underground tunnels as business owners counted the cost of the torrent and meteorologists issued “red” rain alerts, warning of the threat of fresh landslides and flooding in the surrounding areas.

“I am waiting for the power to be restored, but it may take several more days I think,” Chen, the owner of a local food and pork sandwich restaurant, told AFP.

“My losses? They are okay, compared to what happened in the tunnel there,” he said gesturing towards the tunnel where floods trapped many cars on Tuesday — potentially with motorists still inside.

– Topography, typhoon, climate –

Questions turned to how China’s bulging cities could be better prepared for freak weather events like Tuesday’s storm, which experts say are happening with increased frequency and intensity due to climate change.


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