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Sixteen killed as Chinese province face worst flooding in millennium

A dozen people have died in a flooded subway line in Zhengzhou, the capital of China’s central Henan province.

The casualties were recorded after the city was drenched by what weather watchers said were the heaviest rains for 1,000 years.

Video footages on social media late on Tuesday showed commuters chest-deep in murky floodwaters on a train in the dark, and an underground station turned into a large, churning pool.

More 500 people were pulled to safety from the subway flood, according to Zhengshou city authorities.

Due to the rain, authorities in the city of 12 million people about 650 kilometres southwest of Beijing, had halted bus services.

Amid torrential rains since last weekend, the death toll rose to at least sixteen on Wednesday with four residents of Gongyi reported dead, according to local media.

The city – located by the banks of the Yellow River, like Zhengzhou – has suffered widespread collapse of homes and structures due to the rains.

More rain is forecast across Henan for the next three days, and the People’s Liberation Army has dispatched more than 3,000 soldiers and personnel to help with search and rescue, a Reuters report said.

From Saturday to Tuesday, 617.1 millimetres (mm) of rain fell in Zhengzhou. That’s almost equal to Zhengzhou’s annual average of 640.8 mm.

Local meteorologists said the rainfall in Zhengzhou over the three days was on a level seen only “once in a thousand years”.

Like recent heatwaves in the US and Canada and extreme flooding seen in western Europe, the rainfall in China was almost certainly linked to global warming, Reuters quoted scientists as saying.

Across Henan, a major logistics hub with a population of around 100 million, many train services have been suspended. Highways have also been closed and flights delayed or cancelled.

About 100,000 people in Zhengzhou have been evacuated.

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