12 people have been confirmed dead and more than 100,000 have been evacuated as massive floods ravaged central China caused by record-breaking rainfall.
According to official reports on Wednesday, more than a dozen cities in Henan province, including its provincial capital, Zhengzhou, were seriously affected.
President Xi Jinping who expressed his concern over the situation, said the “flood prevention situation was very severe” and at a “critical stage.”
He added that the floods had already resulted in “significant loss of life and damage to property”, and instructed all departments to prioritise “the safety of people and their property,” according to state news agency Xinhua.
Henan province which is home to about 94 million people, has issued its highest level of weather warning. Local authorities called the floods a “once in 100 years” event.
The rain began over the weekend, with storms intensifying on Tuesday.
By Tuesday night, Zhengzhou and other places in Henan province saw widespread flooding. There were reports online of people swept away by fast-moving floodwaters, and cars and debris drifting down submerged streets.
Several dams and reservoirs have breached warning levels, and soldiers have been mobilised to divert rivers which have burst their banks. Flights and train operations in many parts of Henan have also been suspended.
Some 700 passengers in Zhengzhou are also said to have been trapped on a train for at least 40 hours, according to local media reports. They were reportedly provided food at first but this is now said to be in low supply.