Cars sit in floodwaters after heavy rains hit the city of Zhengzhou in Chinas central Henan province on July 21, 2021.
Cars sit in floodwaters after heavy rains hit the city of Zhengzhou in Chinas central Henan province on July 21, 2021.
Photo by STR / AFP

The death toll in central China's unprecedented flash floods triggered after the heaviest rainfall in 1,000 years has reached 33 with eight people missing, officials said on Thursday.

The torrential rain has affected about three million people in Henan province and a total of 376,000 local residents have been relocated to safe places, the provincial emergency management department said.

Rainwater has damaged more than 215,200 hectares of crops, causing a direct economic loss of about 1.22 billion yuan (about USD 188.6 million), state-run Xinhua news agency reported.

The massive floods, described by meteorologists as a once-in-a-lifetime event, has resulted in apocalyptic scenes in Henan and its provincial capital Zhengzhou, a metropolis of 12.6 million, with its public avenues and subway tunnels getting submerged with surging waters.

China's People's Liberation Army (PLA) blasted a damaged dam to divert the surging waters of a flooded river after the province received the heaviest rainfall in 1,000 years.

Terming the flood situation as grim, President Xi Jinping ordered the deployment of the PLA and said authorities at all levels must give top priority to ensuring people's safety and property as massive floods ravaged the province and Zhengzhou city.

Xinhua quoted President Xi as saying that the rainfall has made the flood control situation very severe, causing massive waterlogging in Zhengzhou and other cities, water levels in some rivers exceeding the alarm levels, and damages to dams of some reservoirs.

Both Henan provincial and Zhengzhou municipal meteorological bureaus have raised the emergency response for meteorological disasters to level I.

The Zhengzhou flood control headquarters issued a text message on Wednesday, warning residents there was a grave safety hazard in the Guojiazui reservoir and calling on them to evacuate the southwestern part of the city immediately.

Here's how China looks as it continues to struggle through devastating floods.

People look at cars stacked on each other at an entrance of a tunnel following a heavy rain in Zhengzhou in Chinas Henan province on July 21, 2021.
People look at cars stacked on each other at an entrance of a tunnel following a heavy rain in Zhengzhou in Chinas Henan province on July 21, 2021.
Photo by Noel Celis / AFP
An aerial view shows cars sitting in floodwaters at the entrance of a tunnel after heavy rains hit the city of Zhengzhou in Chinas central Henan province on July 22, 2021.
An aerial view shows cars sitting in floodwaters at the entrance of a tunnel after heavy rains hit the city of Zhengzhou in Chinas central Henan province on July 22, 2021.
Photo by Noel Celis / AFP
This aerial photo taken on July 21, 2021 show a damaged bridge following heavy rains which caused severe flooding in Gongyi in Chinas central Henan province.
This aerial photo taken on July 21, 2021 show a damaged bridge following heavy rains which caused severe flooding in Gongyi in Chinas central Henan province.
Photo by STR / AFP
This photo taken on July 21, 2021 shows a damaged bridge following heavy rains which caused severe flooding in Gongyi in Chinas central Henan province.
This photo taken on July 21, 2021 shows a damaged bridge following heavy rains which caused severe flooding in Gongyi in Chinas central Henan province.
Photo by STR / AFP
People wade through a flooded street following a heavy rain in Zhengzhou, in Chinas Henan province on July 22, 2021.
People wade through a flooded street following a heavy rain in Zhengzhou, in Chinas Henan province on July 22, 2021.
Photo by Noel Celis / AFP
TOPSHOT - Cars sit in floodwaters following heavy rains, in Zhengzhou in Chinas central Henan province on July 22, 2021.
TOPSHOT - Cars sit in floodwaters following heavy rains, in Zhengzhou in Chinas central Henan province on July 22, 2021.
Photo by Noel Celis / AFP
People ride on a bulldozer following a heavy rain in Zhengzhou, in Chinas Henan province on July 22, 2021.
People ride on a bulldozer following a heavy rain in Zhengzhou, in Chinas Henan province on July 22, 2021.
Photo by Noel Celis / AFP
This photo taken on July 21, 2021 shows a utility pole bent in half following heavy rains which caused severe flooding in Gongyi in Chinas central Henan province.
This photo taken on July 21, 2021 shows a utility pole bent in half following heavy rains which caused severe flooding in Gongyi in Chinas central Henan province.
Photo by STR / AFP
Cars sit in floodwaters after heavy rains hit the city of Zhengzhou in Chinas central Henan province on July 21, 2021.
Cars sit in floodwaters after heavy rains hit the city of Zhengzhou in Chinas central Henan province on July 21, 2021.
Photo by STR / AFP
This handout photo taken on July 20, 2021 and received on July 21 courtesy of Weibo user merakiZz-, shows a submerged subway car following heavy rains in Zhengzhou, in Chinas central Henan province.
This handout photo taken on July 20, 2021 and received on July 21 courtesy of Weibo user merakiZz-, shows a submerged subway car following heavy rains in Zhengzhou, in Chinas central Henan province.
Photo by Handout / Courtesy of Weibo user merakiZz- / AFP
This photo taken on July 20, 2021 shows people wading through flood waters along a street following heavy rains in Zhengzhou in Chinas central Henan province.
This photo taken on July 20, 2021 shows people wading through flood waters along a street following heavy rains in Zhengzhou in Chinas central Henan province.
Photo by STR / AFP

With inputs from PTI.

(To receive our E-paper on whatsapp daily, please click here. We permit sharing of the paper's PDF on WhatsApp and other social media platforms.)

Free Press Journal

www.freepressjournal.in