The death toll due to the ongoing storm in Central China has risen to 51, international news agencies report. In the city of Zhengzhou in Henan province in particular, many victims have been killed. Due to the persistent rain, repair work there is slow. Thousands of people are still without electricity, gas and water, tens of thousands of people have been evacuated from the area.
Now that the rain front has moved slightly, authorities are gaining more insight into the heavy water damage in the area. Highways, metro stations and tunnels have been flooded and motorists have been completely taken by surprise by the flooding. The death toll is expected to rise sharply in the coming days. Henan, one of the poorest and at the same time most populous provinces in China, is heavily dependent on agriculture. Tens of thousands of hectares of agricultural land have been affected by the heavy rain and the economic damage is estimated at more than 500 million euros.
Although monsoon rains occur every year in Central China, the rain this year has been unusually heavy. In Zhengzhou, as much rain fell in four days as normally in a year: 617 millimeters. Many rivers in surrounding the low-lying city flooded. On Thursday, the highest disaster level in the city has been scaled down as the heaviest rain moves towards the northwest of the province. Hebei province is also waiting for heavy rain, authorities report.
Meanwhile, Typhoon In-fa is approaching the east coast of China from Japan and Taiwan. The typhoon is expected to make landfall near Shanghai this weekend and could worsen severe weather across the eastern region. In the coastal towns it is recommended to stay indoors because of possible heavy tidal waves.