At least 25 people have died after torrential rains caused landslides and flooded a city in central China, with passengers struggling against chest-high water inside a train carriage.
As river embankments were breached in record downpours across Henan province, President Xi Jinping described the situation as “extremely severe” with flood control measures entering a “critical stage”, state media reported on Wednesday.
About 200,000 residents were evacuated in Zhengzhou, local government officials said, as soldiers led rescue efforts in the city of more than 10 million people which saw the equivalent of a year’s average rain dumped on it in just three days.
The rainfall in the region was the heaviest since record-keeping began 60 years ago.
Rainstorms submerged Zhengzhou’s metro late on Tuesday, killing 12 people and injuring five, while city officials said hundreds were rescued from the subway.
Nerve-racking images shared on social media showed shocked passengers contending with the fast-rising waters inside a train carriage. Rescuers cut open the roof of the coach to pull people to safety, local media reported.
Others showed dramatic rescues of pedestrians in Zhengzhou from torrents gushing through the streets.
At least four were killed in nearby Gongyi city where houses and walls have collapsed, the official Xinhua news agency said, adding that rainfall had caused multiple landslides.
Authorities have issued the highest warning level for Henan province as floods continue to hammer the region, with landslides blocking many roads, villages evacuated and large areas left without communication.