Car ‘graveyard’ a monument to China’s record floods

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A man walks a bike along a flooded road after record downpours in Zhengzhou city in central China's Henan province Tuesday, July 20, 2021. Chinese authorities have announced a huge jump in the death toll from recent floods. The Henan province government said Monday, Aug. 2, 2021, that over 300 people died and at least 50 remain missing. (Chinatopix via AP)

AFP

BEIJING: Endless rows of mud-caked vehicles damaged by deadly floods last month sit abandoned in a parking lot in Zhengzhou, an unwitting memorial to the power of the disaster that hit Henan province.

The region is rebuilding after the deadliest floods in a decade wreaked havoc across the province mid July, killing over 300 people and damaging thousands of cars and buildings.

“We were forced to abandon our vehicles and leave when the waters rose,” a Zhengzhou resident surnamed Wang said.

At least 238,000 damaged vehicles have been sent to ‘graveyards’ like the one in the outskirts of Zhengzhou, head of Henan’s insurance regulator Ma Chao told state broadcaster CCTV on Tuesday.

Record downpours dumped a year’s worth of rain on Zhengzhou — the capital of Henan province and the epicentre of the flooding — in just three days, with over 290 people killed.

Dozens of people died while trapped in flooded subway carriages, underground car parks and tunnels.

The floods also triggered record insurance claims worth US$1.7 billion after thousands of cars and buildings were damaged, insurer Goldman Sachs said in a July report.

The local government last week said economic losses due to the floods have ballooned to over US$20.65 billion and promised swift compensation.

But critics say the process has been painfully slow.

Resident Wang, who lost his car, added: “Now getting compensation has become a real headache with dozens of forms to fill in.”

A landmark UN study released Monday warned that northern China was prone to more freak weather events, including heavy floods and punishing droughts, due to climate change.