Residents evacuate on rubber boats through floodwaters in Zhuozhou in northern China's Hebei province on Wednesday. AP
The city recorded 744.8 millimetres (29.3 inches) of rain between Saturday and Wednesday morning, the Beijing Meteorological Bureau said late on Wednesday.
Beijing and the surrounding province of Hebei were hit by severe flooding because of the record rainfall, with waters rising to dangerous levels. The rain destroyed roads and knocked out power and even pipes carrying drinking water. It flooded rivers surrounding the capital, leaving cars waterlogged, while lifting others onto bridges meant for pedestrians.
Residents wade through floodwaters following heavy rainfall in Zhuozhou, Hebei province. Reuters
The number of confirmed deaths from the torrential rains around Beijing rose to 21 on Wednesday after the body of a rescuer was recovered. Wang Hong-chun, 41, was with other rescuers in a rubber boat when it flipped over in a rapidly flowing river. Four of her teammates survived. At least 26 people remain missing from the rains.
Among the hardest hit areas is Zhuozhou, a small city in Hebei province that borders Beijing's southwest. On Tuesday night, police there issued a plea on social media for lights to assist with rescue work.
Rescue teams traversed the flooded city in rubber boats as they evacuated residents who were stuck in their homes without running water, gas or electricity since Tuesday afternoon.
"I didn’t think it would be that severe, I thought it was just a little bit of water and that it would recede,” said 54-year-old Wang Huiying. She ended up spending the night on the third floor of her building as the water seeped into the first floor, which holds her steamed bread shop. All the machinery is now underwater.
It's unknown how many people are trapped in flood-stricken areas in the city and surrounding villages. Rescue teams from other provinces came to Zhuozhou to assist with evacuations.
"We have to grasp every second, every minute to save people,” said Zhong Hongjun, the head of a rescue team from coastal Jiangsu province. Zhong said he had been working since 2 a.m. Wednesday when they arrived, and expects to work into the night. They’ve rescued about 200 people so far. "A lot of the people we saved are elderly and children,” he said.
Experts have warned Saturday's downpour could prompt even worse flooding than in July 2012, when 79 people died and tens of thousands were evacuated, according to local media. It is the first time since 2011 that such a heavy rainfall warning has been issued, local media said.
Hundreds of flights in and out across the mainland were cancelled. Some bridges and railroad sections were shut down, thousands of fishing boats and other vessels were moved to safety, and more than 2,600 residents in the southern mainland regions were evacuated due to the possibility of landslides and other concerns.
Heavy rainfall in India’s Sikkim states which killed 10 people, and a number of soldiers and civilians are still missing is so sad and painful (“Floods in India’s Sikkim state leave 10 dead, 23 soldiers among dozens missing,” Oct.5, Gulf Today website). According to the report, the India Meteorological Department
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