Commuters die …as rain floods train tunnel in China

Twelve people have died after record-breaking rainfall flooded underground railway tunnels in China, leaving passengers trapped in rising waters.

Video shared on social media shows evening commuters just managing to keep their heads above water. Water is seen rushing onto platforms.

More than 500 people were eventually rescued from the tunnels in Henan province, officials said.

Days of rain have caused widespread damage and led to 200,000 evacuations.

Above ground, roads have been turned into rivers, with cars and debris swept along in fast moving currents. A number of pedestrians have had to be rescued.

In total, 25 people have died in Henan province and more than a dozen cities are affected. President Xi Jinping said on Wednesday that there had been “significant loss of life and damage to property”.

Several dams and reservoirs have breached warning levels, and soldiers have been mobilised to divert rivers which have burst their banks. Flights and trains in many parts of Henan have also been suspended.

In the provincial capital Zhengzhou, the equivalent of a year’s average rainfall has fallen in just three days.

On Tuesday, some of the city’s flood defences were overwhelmed and water began flowing down into the railway tunnels.

Survivors have described how water leaked through the doors, rising slowly from “our ankles to our knees to our necks”. “All of us who could, stood on the subway seats,” one woman wrote on Chinese social network site Weibo.

Children were lifted out of the water by their parents, while others threw off anything which might hold them down.

After about half an hour, one passenger said it became “hard to breathe”.

An order to shut down the line came at 18:10 local time (10:10 GMT) so the evacuation could begin, Zhengzhou government officials said in a statement. Five people are being treated for injuries, with 12 having died.

Elsewhere in the central Chinese city, children had to be rescued from a flooded nursery school.

State media aired footage of them being floated out in plastic tubs by rescuers.

The First Affiliated Hospital of Zhengzhou Hospital also briefly lost power on Tuesday night, though this has now been restored, said a statement on Weibo by the Zhengzhou Municipal Party Committee.

It added that 600 critically ill patients had been transferred to another location. -BBC

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