China subway flood survivors texted WILLS to loved ones and said last goodbyes as water rose neck deep and air ran out
PANICKED passengers fearing death texted their wills and final goodbyes to loved ones as floodwaters on subways in central China rose to neck level and air ran out.
At least 25 people have been killed as the heaviest rainfall in 1,000 years wreaks havoc in the province Henan, where flooding is so severe many cities have become submerged underwater and more than 100,000 people have been forced to flee their homes.
Video on social media on Tuesday showed commuters shoulder-deep in murky floodwaters on a train in the dark as an underground station turned into a large, churning pool.
Terrified parents were forced to hold their kids above floodwaters as train lines turned into rivers, with many certain they would not make it out alive.
Torrential rains flooded subways in Henan's capital Zhengzhou – which has a population of 12million – leaving at least 18 dead while more than 500 people were rescued.
"The water reached my chest," a survivor wrote on social media.
"I was really scared, but the most terrifying thing was not the water, but the diminishing air supply in the carriage."
The city's Line 5 metro was plagued by floodwater on Tuesday, with fear gripping commuters as the water level surged and air began to run out.
When I saw the water level had reached our heads, I began sending out my last goodbye messages and arranging affairs after my death with loved ones.
Clips show passengers standing on seats while parents held their kids above the water as it continued to seep in through carriage doors and windows.
Fearing the worst, commuters – including pregnant women and elderly passengers – desperately contacted their loved ones.
"Looking at the overwhelming flood, I felt hopeless, preparing myself for the fact that I wouldn’t make it out alive," one woman told Bingdian Weekly.
"When I saw the water level had reached our heads, I began sending out my last goodbye messages and arranging affairs after my death with loved ones."
A Weibo user said it took just 30 minutes for the water level on the subway to become neck-deep.
"In the half-hour that followed the water level became higher and higher inside the train, from our ankles to our knees to our necks," they wrote.
"The power went out. Half an hour later it got hard to breathe."
Meanwhile, dramatic footage showed the moment a woman became caught in raging floodwater.
The terrified woman could be seen battling to stay above the water as it relentlessly poured in before she was thankfully pulled to safety by a group of people as she clung to a piece of rope.
A second shocking clip shows dozens of children being saved from a nursery in the city as it became submerged.
More than 150 kids and teachers were rescued by firefighters, with many seen smiling in the clip to ease fear as youngsters were pulled along in boxes.
Heavy rain has battered Henan in recent days, with more than 24inches falling in Zhengzhou – the worst-hit city thanks to its location on the banks of the Yellow River – in less than three days.
That's almost on par with Zhengzhou's annual average of 25.2inches.
'ONCE IN A THOUSAND YEARS'
The amount of rainfall in Zhengzhou witnessed over the three days was one seen only "once in a thousand years", local media cited meteorologists as saying.
It is wreaking havoc across Henan, with bus and train services halted across the province – which has a population of more than 100million – as authorities grapple with devastating scenes.
Transport and working life have been disrupted throughout the province, with torrents of rain turning streets into rapidly flowing rivers, washing away cars and rising into people's homes.
China's President Xi Jinping branded the flood control situation "very severe" and at a "critical stage" during an address on Wednesday, urging for officials to "prioritise the safety of people's lives and properties," state news agency Xinhua reported.
He added that flood prevention efforts had become "very difficult" and that flooding had already resulted in "significant loss of life and damage to property".
Dozens of reservoirs and dams also breached warning levels.
Local authorities said the rainfall had caused a 20-metre breach in the Yihetan dam in Luoyang city west of Zhengzhou, and that the dam "could collapse at any time".
In Zhengzhou, the local flood control headquarters said the city's Guojiazui reservoir had been breached but there was no dam failure yet.
About 100,000 people in the city have been evacuated to safe zones.
Forecasters predict downpours will stop by Thursday.
China experiences regular flooding during the summer, but the growth of cities and conversion of farmland into subdivisions have raised the impact of such events.
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