China: At least 25 dead and thousands evacuate homes amid severe floods

Commuters trapped in a subway train by neck-high water following torrential rain in China, ITV News Asia Correspondent Debi Edward reports

At least 25 people have died and thousands have been forced to evacuate their homes as severe flooding hit central China.

The fatalities occurred in the Henan provincial capital of Zhengzhou, where residents were trapped in the subway system and left stranded at schools, apartments and offices.

Alongside the deaths, seven people have been reported missing and more than 100,000 people have been evacuated from their homes to safety.

Huge amounts of rain fell in the space of just a few hours. Credit: AP

Transport and working life have been disrupted throughout Henan, a heavily populated province and a major base for industry and agriculture.

On Wednesday, a video posted on social media showed subway passengers standing in chest-high muddy brown water as floods raged in the tunnel outside.

The precise times and locations of the deaths and disappearances weren’t immediately clear, although it's thought some of the deaths occurred in the subway system.

Emergency crews rescued some 150 children and teachers from a kindergarten

At the First Affiliated Hospital of Zhengzhou University, a blackout shut down ventilators, forcing staff to use hand-pumped airbags to help patients breathe, according to the city’s Communist Party committee. It said more than 600 patients were being transferred to other hospitals.

According to China's state-run press agency, President Xi Jinping instructed authorities "at all levels" to prioritise people's safety while carefully implementing relief and preventative measures.

In an attempt to release floodwaters, China’s military has blasted a dam in the city of Luoyang, Henan.

To the north of Zhengzhou, the famed Shaolin Temple, known for its Buddhist monks’ mastery of martial arts, was also badly hit.

China experiences regular flooding during the summer, but the growth of cities and conversion of farmland into subdivisions has raised the impact of such events.