New drone footage shows deadly floods devastating China's 'iPhone city'

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Business Insider 23 July, 2021 - 11:41am 32 views

Rescue efforts launched after record floods in central China displace 1.2 million

The Washington Post 23 July, 2021 - 02:02pm

Wang and other volunteers recounted scenes of devastation in Zhengzhou on Wednesday, as the death toll rose to 25 and more than 1.2 million people were displaced. Videos circulating online showed residents being rescued with ropes from deep rushing waters. Large areas of the surrounding countryside remained underwater.

The disaster was severe enough for Chinese leader Xi Jinping to issue a statement Wednesday through state media, ordering authorities to give top priority to people’s safety and property. More than 17,000 firefighters were mobilized for rescue operations, according to the Ministry of Emergency Management, along with local volunteers and personnel from other provinces.

“The water outside is already up to here,” radio host Ding Xiaopei said in a quavering voice, pointing to chest-high water outside her subway window, in a widely shared smartphone video clip. “My smartphone is running out of batteries. I don’t know if this is my last WeChat post.”

Ding, a mother of two, was rescued Tuesday night after being trapped in the subway train for over three hours, according to Jiemian, a Shanghai-based financial news outlet.

Late on Tuesday, Chinese authorities breached a dam in the city of Luoyang to release floodwaters and lessen the pressure on the flood hit region, according to the Associated Press.

Reuters reported that several Chinese companies rushed to make donations to the flood aid totaling up to $300 million dollars for the stricken region.

The flooding is a blow to China as it seeks to recover from the coronavirus pandemic. The country has largely returned its economy to its previous growth trajectory, although it retains strict border controls and continues to implement localized clampdowns when coronavirus clusters emerge.

Zhengzhou is a major transportation and logistics hub in China, and the surrounding countryside of Henan province is part of the country’s breadbasket. The flooding threatens to disrupt industry and agriculture in the region.

Yuan Yanling, who lives in a village outside Zhengzhou, said peanut fields were submerged, and farmers feared they may not be able to recover after the waters recede.

“It’s terrifying,” she said. “In some places, you can’t even see the corn anymore.”

On Tuesday, there were reports of people trapped on trains and in standstill traffic on highways. Both Zhengzhou city and Henan province activated their highest level of flood response.

The state-run People’s Daily newspaper called the rainstorm the “worst in Zhengzhou history,” with almost a year’s worth of rain falling in a single day.

Zhang Lanjuan, 33, a volunteer in Zhengzhou, said some 200 people were stranded in one neighborhood that she visited Wednesday. She said she saw some men swim their way out, but no women or children, and the water was too deep for the volunteers to enter.

“They had no electricity, no water, no food, and no cell signal,” she said.

The heavy rains began over the weekend and will last at least through Wednesday night, according to China’s National Meteorological Center.

Floods in China Leave Many Searching for Loved Ones Amid Outages

The New York Times 23 July, 2021 - 02:02pm

Unusually heavy rains engulfed roads and bridges, flooding towns and cities in central China. The extreme weather has killed 33 people, displaced 250,000, and caused widespread disruption.

MIHE, China — Chen Shuying was sitting at home with her husband and their 3-year-old grandson on Tuesday when water began to surge through the door. Within minutes, it was well above her waist. “The water came so fast,” she said.

They made it to the roof, where they waited for hours for the water to recede. Two days later, she still cannot return home, she said. They were lucky. Three neighbors — a grocery shopkeeper and two of the grocer’s customers — were swept away by the floodwaters and have not been seen since.

The formidable destructive power of the floods that engulfed Henan Province in central China became clearer on Thursday, even as new areas were inundated. Still more rain is in the forecast, following days of torrential downpours, including the strongest on record in the area on Tuesday.

The death toll from the flooding continued to rise, with provincial officials saying 33 people were now confirmed killed. At least eight remained missing, the officials said, but those figures appeared to be preliminary at best given that rescuers were continuing to try to reach flooded areas in outlying districts.

The disaster that has unfolded since heavy rain began on Sunday has affected more than three million people in the province, emergency officials there said, including more than 250,000 who were displaced from their homes. Even as the rains eased somewhat, and officials lowered the alert levels, desperate searches continued for loved ones unaccounted for more than 48 hours after the worst of the flooding.

The Paper, a newspaper belonging to a state-owned media group, on Thursday posted a list of people searching for missing relatives. The missing included Yan Yichen, a 12-year-old boy from Gongyi, who told his family that he was curious to see the floodwaters and went out for a look.

“He never came back,” the boy’s grandmother, Cui Yuncai, said, sobbing, when reached by telephone on Thursday.

In towns and villages on the outskirts of Zhengzhou, the provincial capital at the center of the disaster, residents described still more who remained unaccounted for, like the grocer and his customers. Some residents who fled their homes in Mihe, on the Sishui River and 22 miles west of downtown Zhengzhou, waited on Thursday by the side of a nearby highway for news.

A man who would give only his last name, Zhang, said he was still searching for his father and four other relatives.

“Once the flood was noticed, it was too late,” Mr. Zhang said, describing a surge of water five feet deep. “This is the first time I saw such a big flood.”

He, like others, held out hope that those missing were stranded in flooded areas without electricity to charge their phones.

Liu Dan, a Zhengzhou resident, said that her husband, Liu Zhihao, has not been in touch since Tuesday night, but that she held out hope. The couple have two children and she is eight months pregnant with their third. Mr. Liu, 30, a salesman, went out that afternoon, apparently on business.

“He sent me a message at 5:10 in the afternoon asking how we were,” she said in a telephone interview. “I replied saying we were all OK, and then I never heard back. Since then his phone has been off, so we’re just waiting and waiting. It’s been 48 hours now. I think there’s still hope. He’s not the irresponsible type.”

In Xinxiang, a city north of Zhengzhou, about 100 people were stranded on the second floor of an elementary school, according to a post on Weibo, a Chinese social media platform. Many of them were children.

They had apparently sought refuge from the rising water, which by Thursday had reached the second floor.

“Urgently need rescue,” a woman wrote in the post. “More than half of the trapped people are elders and children, the rain is still going on and the water level is rising strongly! It is reaching the second floor very soon.” The situation could not immediately be verified by The New York Times. Calls to mobile numbers listed on the post were unanswered.

Power was knocked out in dozens of villages, and water still swamped broad areas across the province. People turned to social media to spread news and direct emergency rescuers to those in need. A post from Xinxiang showed a video of flooded streets, with a man pleading for help, saying most of the people trapped in buildings without power near him were older.

On an arduous drive through Henan Province on Thursday, many roads and bridges were flooded or blocked by mudflows. Zhengzhou remained largely cut off; railroads and highways were still closed, and airline traffic suspended.

A large private and public relief effort has already begun. In Mihe, a dozen large rubber rafts, usually used for white-water rafting, sat on towing racks behind pickup trucks.

Police cars, ambulances, emergency rescue vans and other vehicles sat parked on high ground overlooking the flooded river. Two men in military camouflage uniforms used a drone to scan the area.

Many homes in Mihe, which is in a flat-bottomed valley with steep slopes of red soil, had been destroyed or badly damaged. Ms. Chen, who survived with her husband and grandchild, had fled to a nearby village.

“Now we have nothing to eat, no water to drink, no home to return to,” she said. “I don’t know what to do.”

Across the countryside, downed power cables snaked across roads, village streets and alleys, the poles supporting them having been washed-out.

In one village near Gongyi, where at least four people were reported to have been killed on Tuesday, Chen Shuailin, 21, said the power had been out since he woke up on Tuesday morning. He worried about charging his phone and preparing food without electricity. “Now it’s cooking by gas,” he said, “and we burn coal.”

In Zhengzhou, subway service remained suspended after flooding that trapped trains in tunnels that filled with water. At least 12 people died in the subway, and hundreds had to be evacuated in harrowing rescues. Near the city’s third ring road, dozens of cars remained piled up at the entrance to a long highway underpass, still submerged. It was not clear whether those inside the vehicles had time to escape, and some appeared to have gone missing.

Two of them were friends, Xu Yukun and Li Haoming, both 14. According to Xu’s sister, Zu Panpan, they had been out with friends when their electric bike had been swept away in the floodwaters at the entrance to the underpass. They called the friends to tell them where they were but they have not answered their phones since.

Their mother, Ms. Zu said in a telephone interview, has been waiting near the underpass as efforts were made to pump out the water. She herself has not slept in two days and was on her way back to Zhengzhou from the southern city of Guangzhou.

“If they are in it,” she said, “then there is no hope.”

Flooded subway cars, Kris Wu, and paperless hotel check-ins

SHINE 23 July, 2021 - 02:02pm

It's been a long week, with plenty happening on the news front. Here's a quick roundup in case you missed it.

Heavy rains began to fall in Zhengzhou on Sunday evening. By Tuesday it all became too much and the city became overwhelmed. Xinhua news agency reported that around a year's worth of rain fell in just two days, ultimately flooding one of the city's Metro lines. 

On Tuesday, video began to be posted online from desperate passengers on Line 5, who were stuck underground inside subway carriages that were filling with water.

"Don't panic," one man could be heard yelling in the background of a video that was posted online begging for help. 

"We are stuck in the train and the water is already really high," the man said calmly as he filmed the water level rising, at that stage already up to his hips. "If you see this video, please call the police, and please help me re-post this." 

"Oxygen was low. Some people began to vomit," one rescued woman recalled. "Children, pregnant women and the elderly suffered the most, losing their strength after staying in the water for a long time," she said. "You could feel a sense of desperation. I even messaged texts to my family and friends in fear of death."

In the end, 12 died in the city's flooded Metro, although many more were rescued.

The torrential rain and flooding has affected about 3 million people in Henan, with 33 reported dead. The provincial emergency management department said a total of 376,000 local residents have been relocated to safer places.

Rainwater has damaged more than 215,200 hectares of crops, causing direct economic losses of more than 1.2 billion yuan (US$185 million).

His accuser, Du Meizhu, has been posting the allegations online and has took interviews from domestic media outlets. 

Major brands who employed Wu in their marketing campaigns were quick to sever ties, despite the singer and model denying all allegations on his Weibo account, where he has more than 50 million fans. 

International brands who cut ties include Porsche, Bulgari, L'Oréal and Louis Vuitton, while local brands like Bestore, Liby, Ethereal Sound and IT giant Tencent were just as fast. 

The allegations topped trending topics on Chinese social media platforms for days.

The city has a population of more than 9.3 million and has classified 10 areas as medium-risk for COVID-19, which means they will be locked down and quarantined. 

The city government has urged residents not to leave the city unless necessary. Anyone leaving the city must produce a negative nucleic acid test certificate issued within 48 hours of their departure. The rule does not apply to transit passengers.

Unfortunately, though, the service is not currently available for foreigners, although the prospects are looking good since expats have been able to use the city's health QR code since March last year. 

I will keep an eye on it!

Copyright 2019 © Shanghai Daily all rights reserved.

Flood deaths in central Chinese city climb to 51

Honolulu Star-Advertiser 23 July, 2021 - 12:15pm

Rescuers used a motorized raft bridge to evacuate residents from a flooded rural area in Xinxiang in central China’s Henan Province, Friday. The death toll from catastrophic flooding in the central Chinese city of Zhengzhou has continued to rise, state media reported Friday.

BEIJING >> The death toll from catastrophic flooding in the central Chinese city of Zhengzhou has risen to 51, state media reported Friday.

The official China Daily newspaper and other media said the number included just Zhengzhou, the capital of Henan province. Other areas of the province have also faced heavy downpours, and rivers and reservoirs burst their banks.

The reports said losses in Zhengzhou totaled about $10 billion as the city continues to drain inundated areas, remove mud and cart away damaged vehicles and household items.

Streets were turned into rushing rivers, washing away people and vehicles and apartments. Shops and offices filled with muddy water, forcing people to seek shelter where they could.

Among the dead were 12 people trapped by floodwaters in Zhengzhou’s subway system.

The flooding displaced nearly 400,000 people in the city of 12 million that is a major hub for industry and transportation.

The previous death toll had been 33 with eight missing.

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China flooding causes supply chain disruption: report

New York Post 22 July, 2021 - 04:19pm

By Sam Raskin

July 22, 2021 | 5:19pm | Updated July 22, 2021 | 5:20pm

Massive flooding in China is disrupting the country’s supply chain, including the production of food, cars and coal, according to a report.

Even as power and travel infrastructure were restored in the country, damage caused by several days of downpour continued Thursday to cause trouble for the production and distribution of goods across the spectrum.

“As Zhengzhou is a top national transportation hub and Henan province is a major producer of grains, raw materials and some manufactured products like iPhones, we believe the rainfall and flooding will have a material impact on business activity and inflation in the short term,” Nomura analysts wrote, according to Reuters.

Foxconn, the company that in Zhengzhou produces iPhones for Apple, said there so far has been no impact on its production facility.

“We are closely monitoring the situation and will provide any updates as appropriate,” the company reportedly said.

But the outlet, citing an unnamed source familiar with the situation, also reported that a smaller Foxconn facility that produces desktop connectors in Zhengzhou had equipment damaged in the flooding.

SAIC Motor, China’s largest car maker, warned of derailed logistics at its Zhengzhou plant, Reuters reported.

In addition to wreaking havoc on China’s supply chain in the short term, Reuters reported the floods could in the long-term harm farm output, since rainwater can spread disease on farms.

Meanwhile, Taiwan’s Central Weather Bureau issued a warning Thursday and said heavy rain will affect Taipei City and other northern parts of the island through Thursday night.

The storm is then expected to move on to the Chinese mainland, battering the financial hub of Shanghai and nearby provinces of Zhejiang, Fujian and Jiangsu with rainstorms and gales, the China Meteorological Administration said.

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