Henan floods: Miracle as woman saved in dramatic rescue video

·Associate News Editor
·4-min read

Disturbing video is emerging from the Chinese province of Henan where at least 12 people have died in what state media says are its worst floods in 1000 years.

The province's capital Zhengzhou, with a population of over 12 million has been badly hit thanks to its location on the banks of the Yellow River.

Since the torrential rain began on Saturday, the city has come close to matching its average annual rainfall of 640mm. On Tuesday, a remarkable 200mm fell in a one-hour period.

A raft of videos of the terrifying conditions have been shared across Chinese state media and social sites.

Two videos to have caused deep concern on Chinese social media site Weibo show two separate women clinging for life as they are caught in raging floodwaters.

Woman 'escapes from the dead' in raging floodwaters

One woman can be seen clinging onto a rope held by several men as floodwater is continuously dumped on top of her.

Miraculously she manages to hold on despite disappearing under the water and is pulled to calmer waters.

The woman is engulfed by the floodwaters in a side street but miraculously is pulled to safety. Source: Weibo
The woman is engulfed by the floodwaters in a side street but miraculously is pulled to safety. Source: Weibo

While appearing conscious in the video, her condition is unknown.

"Escape from the dead!" one headline on QQ News said in relation to the video.

Many on social media praised the bravery and resilience of the women for fighting to save their lives, while those assisting her have also been hailed.

"This is terrifying," one person wrote on Weibo.

In the second video a woman can be seen clinging to a tree as waters rush past her at waist height. Struggling to hold on, a man uses banners from a nearby building to help guide her to safety.

During the rescue process, a drinks refrigerator caught in the current, presumably from a nearby shop, comes close to striking her.

Following the banner after tying it to the tree she was holding, she falls at one point before disappearing under the water. She is eventually pulled to safety.

The woman clings to a tree as bystanders rush to her aid. Source: Weibo
The woman clings to a tree as bystanders rush to her aid. Source: Weibo

Another video shared on social media on Tuesday showed commuters chest-deep in murky floodwaters on a lightless subway train and an underground station turned into a large, churning pool.

Others were filmed walking in flooded underground subway tunnels after their train could travel no further.

Above ground floating vehicles were swept down streets and those caught in the current clung to whatever they could.

Footage released by the local fire brigade shows 150 children and staff being rescued from a kindergarten engulfed by the floodwaters.

It is understood more children across the state are trapped inside kindergartens and schools.

About 100,000 people have been evacuated to safe zones, the official Xinhua agency reported, citing the local government.

The Emergency Management Department has sent 1800 firefighters to reinforce the Henan army in rescue missions and subsequent clean up operations.

This photo taken on July 20, 2021 shows a man riding a bicycle through flood waters along a street following heavy rains in Zhengzhou in China's central Henan province. - - China OUT (Photo by STR / AFP) / China OUT (Photo by STR/AFP via Getty Images)
State media quoted a meteorologist in saying it is the worst floods in the area for 1,000 years. Source: Getty

'Once in 1000 year' event

The level of rainfall in Zhengzhou witnessed over the three days was one seen only "once in a thousand years", local media cited meteorologists as saying.

Overnight, local authorities said the rainfall had caused a 20-metre breach in the Yihetan dam in the city of Luoyang west of Zhengzhou, and that the dam "could collapse at any time".

"Flood prevention efforts have become very difficult," President Xi Jinping said on Wednesday, addressing the situation in a statement broadcast by state television.

Dozens of vehicles, some overturned, float in a flooded street. Source: Weibo
Dozens of vehicles, some overturned, float in a flooded street. Source: Weibo

On Wednesday, Zhengzhou's transportation system remained paralysed, with schools and hospitals cut off by severe waterlogging, according to state media.

The First Affiliated Hospital of Zhengzhou - a large treatment centre with over 7000 beds - has lost all power, and even backup supplies were down, the People's Daily reported on Wednesday.

The hospital was racing to find transport to relocate about 600 critically ill patients, according to the report.

Heavy rain is forecast to persist through Wednesday, though precipitation will continue across the province for the next three days.

With Reuters

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