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.
With inputs from PTI.