Floods in China: doubts over actual death toll in Zhengzhou

Aerial view of the entrance to a flooded tunnel in Zhengzhou, July 22, 2021. AFP - NOEL CELIS

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3 min

In China, at least 58 people have died and 5 others are still missing according to the latest official flood report in Henan province, where more than a million residents have had to evacuate their homes.

With questions on the number of victims in the capital Zhengzhou, where the cleaning operations of the tunnels until then soaked with water ended.

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With our correspondent in Beijing,

Stéphane Lagarde

After the metro, it is the tunnels that are the subject of questions and doubts in Zhengzhou. " 

Move on, don't stay here, 

"

the police

told

onlookers Thursday night

as the drainage of the

long Jingguang tunnel began.

 Two kilometers of concrete connecting the city from North to South, often traffic jams at peak times, six lanes in both directions which were flooded in less than ten minutes last Tuesday evening according to witnesses.

The city has not issued an official statement.

Nearly 200 vehicles were found and four drivers or passengers drowned, according to a rescue operations official speaking on condition of anonymity on the

Pengpai

news

site

.

Four deaths for 200 vehicles: enough to fuel doubts.

"We 

will have to monitor the tunnels, 

" a lawyer told us a few days ago on his encrypted messaging.

Media guidelines

As often in this type of disaster, the authorities want to avoid images of victims in the press.

Natural disasters are the subject of keen attention from censorship, in order to counter criticism of a possible lack of preparation or a too slow response from the public authorities.

Instructions were passed

to the media

: "

Focus on disaster recovery, don't post unauthorized images showing dead bodies, don't adopt an overly sad tone." 

This does not prevent this Saturday again certain Internet users from affirming on social networks that their relatives disappeared in the tunnels or the subway of Zhengzhou. 

► To read also: China: after the floods, the pumping of water has started

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  • China

  • Xi Jinping

  • Natural disasters

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