Heavy rains hit Henan province on July 20, causing flooding in several cities and towns. Zhengzhou, the provincial capital with a population of 12 million, was one of the hardest hit areas, the entire neighborhood was submerged and passengers were trapped in subway cars that were flooded.
A total of 50 people are still missing across Henan, most of them from Zhengzhou, provincial deputy governor Wu Quoding told a news conference Monday.
Of the total deaths, 292 belonged to Zhengzhou, Wu said. Most were killed by floods and landslides, while dozens of homes collapsed, and 39 people drowned in underground areas, including basements and cellars.
Fourteen of the drowning deaths occurred on the subway line where many passengers were trapped up to their necks in the floodwaters in subway cars as fast-moving currents tore through the network of underground tunnels.
Dramatic videos of people sticking their handles on the ceiling to keep their heads above the water shocked the nation and made headlines around the world. More than 500 passengers were evacuated from the subway, officials said several days after the initial flooding.
Six more deaths drowned across the road, leaving passengers trapped inside their cars. Rescue teams spent several days draining floodwaters from a tunnel in the city of Zhengzhou.
In a statement on Monday, China’s state council said it would set up a committee to “investigate and assess” floods and deaths. The panel said it would review the “failure of duty” and “hold people accountable under the law and regulations.”
It is unclear whether the Zhengzhou outbreak has been linked to another cluster of delta outbreaks in the eastern city of Nanjing over the past two weeks.
The eruption, which began in late July, was China’s worst months, when nine airport cleaners in Nanjing were found to be infected during a routine inspection. Since then, domestically spread Govt cases have been reported in at least 16 provinces Across China, including the tourist hotspot in the southern Chinese province of Hunan and the capital Beijing.
According to the National Health Commission, 90 new symptomatic cases and 23 asymptomatic cases were reported on Tuesday. According to health officials at various regional news conferences, most infections have been confirmed as delta variants.
Millions of people are now under the control of the movement. Nanjing has launched several rounds of testing for its 9.3 million residents, and has locked up residential mixes with confirmed cases. Public spaces such as bars, gyms and libraries are closed.
Similar measures and partial locks have been put in place in Zhangjiajie, where a theater show with thousands of participants sparked concern over a super-spread event. Restrictions have also been tightened in the national capital, Beijing, which has barred people from entering medium- or high-risk areas.
CNN’s Beijing Bureau reported.
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