While parts of the world are witnessing devastating droughts and heatwaves caused by the climate crisis, China’s Henan province, with a population of more than 100 million people, has experienced torrential downpours and flooding. And the capital, Zhengzhou, has seen the worst of conditions, with a local weather commentator calling it a “once-in-thousand-year storm.”
At least 25 people have died, including 12 trapped in a flooded subway. Hundreds of trains have been halted due to the flooding, leaving people with little choice but to wade (or swim) in the water-filled streets. Food shortages have also been reported across the province as Chinese authorities deploy aid workers.
Weather disasters are inextricably linked to human-induced climate change. According to NASA, the planet has warmed 2.1 degrees Fahrenheit since 1880, making disasters worse. The seasons of wildfires are getting longer. Hurricanes are getting wetter and more dangerous. Heat waves get hotter, occur more frequently and last longer. Heavier rainfall leads to more flooding inland. And the costs of climate disasters are rising. To stop this vicious circle, we need to drastically reduce our reliance on climate-polluting fossil fuels.
Here’s a look at the devastation the floods are wreaking in China.