Tens of thousands evacuated as China storms spread northwards
Tens of thousands of people were being evacuated from flood-hit regions of central China on July 22 as officials raised the death toll from heavy rains that have deluged Henan province for almost a week to 33 people.
More cities were inundated and crops destroyed as the severe weather spread northwards, with the official Xinhua news agency reporting direct economic losses of 1.22 billion yuan ($189 million) so far.
The provincial weather bureau on July 22 raised the storm alert for four cities in the north of Henan - Xinxiang, Anyang, Hebi and Jiaozuo - to red, the highest tier of a four-step colour-coded weather warning system.
The fatalities included 12 people who were killed when the subway in the provincial capital of Zhengzhou, about 650 km (400 miles) southwest of Beijing, was flooded earlier this week. Eight people are listed as missing across the province.
More than 73,000 people were being evacuated from the city of Anyang, on Henan's border with Hebei province, after being swamped by more than 600 mm of rainfall since Monday, the official Xinhua news agency reported.
Xinxiang, a small city north of Zhengzhou, recorded 812 mm of rainfall between July 20 and July 22, shattering local meteorological records, Xinhua reported. Seven medium-sized reservoirs in the city had overflowed, affecting scores of nearby villages and towns.
As of late July 21, more than 470,000 people and over 55,000 hectares of crops have been affected by the Xinxiang downpours, Xinhua said, adding the local government had deployed a more than 76,000-strong search and rescue team.
In neighbouring Hebei, two people were killed when a tornado struck the city of Baoding.
The fatal flooding of the Zhengzhou subway prompted the...