China moves residents out of flooded areas, drains tunnels

BEIJING (AP) — Rescuers used bulldozers and rubber boats to move residents out of flooded neighborhoods in central China on Saturday after torrential rains killed at least 56 people.

In Zhengzhou, a city of 12 million people, government crews armed with industrial pumps finished draining water from a major traffic tunnel, according to a news report.

The rains that started Tuesday in densely populated Henan were the heaviest on record, according to the government.

On Saturday, skies were mostly clear but parts of Zhengzhou and other cities including Xinxiang, Hebi and Anyang still were under water.

Residents were carried out of areas in Hebi where water was up to 2 meters (6 feet) deep, the Shanghai news outlet The Paper reported.

The Ministry of Emergency Management sent flood drainage teams with 300 people and equipment from neighboring provinces, the official Xinhua News Agency said.

More than 200 wrecked cars were pulled out of Zhengzhou’s Jingguang North Road Tunnel, where water up to 13 meters (43 feet) deep was pumped out, The Paper reported.

The Paper said “it has been confirmed some people died” but gave no indication whether that meant additional bodies were found in the tunnel after two reported Wednesday. Twelve people died Tuesday night in a flooded Zhengzhou subway tunnel.

Direct economic losses were estimated at 13.9 billion yuan ($2 billion), according to Xinhua. It said a total of more than 3,800 houses collapsed across the province and 920,000 people were evacuated from their homes.

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