Cars sit in floodwaters after heavy rains hit the city of Zhengzhou on Tuesday. AFP
Climate change is taking on sinister proportions. As though the floods in Europe were not enough, Nature has unleashed its fury this time on China.
Shocked residents picked through the debris of a historic deluge that claimed at least 33 lives, with more heavy rain threatening surrounding regions as piles of cars were strewn across a central Chinese city on Thursday.
At least 33 people have died and around 200,000 residents evacuated after what weather forecasters called the heaviest rain in a thousand years.
The downpour caused landslides and flooded large areas of Henan province, including its capital Zhengzhou.
Twelve people died and five were hurt after the rains flooded underground metro stations. Hundreds were removed from other underground tunnels.
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A dozen cities in the country have been badly flooded.
A year’s rainfall buffeted the city, which has 10 million inhabitants, in just three days.
People walk through floodwaters along a street in Zhengzhou in central China's Henan Province, on Tuesday. AP
Horrifying images that went viral on social media platforms showed shocked passengers battling to keep their heads above the fast-rising waters inside a train coach. Rescuers had to prise open the roof of the bogey to pull the passengers to a safe area.
Four were killed as houses collapsed in nearby Gongyi city.
A man carrying a woman wades through a flooded road following heavy rainfall in Zhengzhou on Tuesday. Reuters
President Xi Jinping described the situation as "extremely severe" with flood control measures entering a "critical stage", state media reported on Wednesday.
"Some reservoirs had their dams burst... causing serious injury, loss of life and property damage," Xi Jinping said, according to state broadcaster CCTV.
"We have already entered the critical stage of flood control, leaders and cadres from all walks of life must... take the lead in commanding, quickly organise forces for flood protection and disaster rescue."
Relatives outside Zhengzhou made anxious pleas on China's Weibo for information as communications to the city went down.
"Is the second floor in danger? My parents live there, but I can't get through to them on the phone," one user wrote.
"I don't know more about their situation. I'm in Tianjin and my parents are in Zhengzhou," she said, giving her surname only as Hou when contacted by AFP.
"I'm very anxious."
The death toll from catastrophic flooding in the central Chinese city of Zhengzhou has risen to 56, state media reported on Friday.
Record rainfall inundated Zhengzhou on July 20, turning streets into rushing rivers and flooding at least part of a subway line. Video posted online showed vehicles being washed away and desperate people trapped in subway cars as the waters rose. Fourteen people died in the subway flooding.
More than twice the usual rainfall for the whole of August has fallen over parts of the southern island of Kyushu over the past 48 hours.
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