As parts of the world witness devastating drought and heat waves due to the climate crisis, China’s Henan province, which has a population of over 100 million people, has been experiencing torrential downpours and flooding. And the capital city of Zhengzhou has seen the worst of the conditions, where one local weather commentator called it a “once in a thousand years storm.”
At least 25 people have died, including 12 who were trapped in a flooded subway train. Hundreds of trains have been halted due to the flooding, leaving people with few options but to wade (or swim) in the water-filled streets. Food shortages have also been reported across the province as Chinese authorities deploy emergency workers.
Weather disasters are inextricably linked to human-induced climate change. The planet has already warmed 2.1 degrees Fahrenheit since 1880, according to NASA, and that’s making disasters worse. Wildfire seasons are getting longer. Hurricanes are getting wetter and more dangerous. Heat waves are getting hotter, more frequent, and longer-lasting. Heavier rainfall is triggering more inland flooding. And the cost of climate disasters is soaring. Stopping this vicious cycle will require drastically reducing our reliance on climate-polluting fossil fuels.
Here’s a look at the devastation the flood waters in China are causing.