Mother Looks for Missing Daughter as Death Toll for China Floods in Question

It has been four agonizing days for Lu’s mother, whose 18-year-old daughter is now missing after devastating floods swept through central China’s Henan Province.

Lu Yanghan, who is about five feet and four inches tall, was sheltering in their second-floor home in Cuimiao Town when she was washed away by the floods, said Lu’s mother in an interview with The Epoch Times. The town is located about a 40-minute drive west of Henan’s provincial capital Zhengzhou.

“On July 20, there were heavy rains,” Lu’s mother recalled. “The floods reached the third floor of our building. My child was alone at our second-floor home before she was swept away.”

She said her neighborhood was badly hit by floods and many houses had been damaged as streets turned into rivers.

Zhengzhou, with a population of 12 million, has been one of the worst-hit areas since heavy rains began to fall in the region on July 17. For the next four days, the city received 617.1 millimeters (24.3 inches) of rainfall, which is almost equivalent to the annual average of 640.8 millimeters (25.2 inches).

Troubling images and videos of people being swept away or drowning in the floodwaters have emerged online, some related to the tragedy on July 20, when Chinese officials claimed that at least 12 people had died inside an inundated metro line in Zhengzhou after authorities said they evacuated more than 500 trapped commuters.

Severe flooding was also reported in several nearby cities, including Gongyi, which is about one hour drive west of Zhengzhou, and Xinxiang, which is about one hour and 15 minutes drive northeast of the capital.

Lu’s mother attributed the floods to the poor drainage system in her area.

Hundreds of thousands of people have been forced to relocate as a result of the floods, including Lu’s mother, who is now staying with a relative.

Zhengzhou China
People wade through a flooded street in Zhengzhou, in China’s Henan province, on July 22, 2021. (Noel Celis/AFP via Getty Images)

Lu is hardly the only missing person due to the floods. China’s state-run media have published missing people reports, and families have taken to China’s social media seeking the whereabouts of their missing relatives.

Another missing person is 32-year-old Li Li who is nine months pregnant. According to local media, she was allegedly at her home in Baisha Town on the morning of July 20 before she went missing. Baisha is located about 10 miles to the east of Zhengzhou.

Death Toll Unknown

On late Saturday afternoon, China’s state-run media Xinhua announced that 58 people had died in the rain-ravaged province. However, Wang Ying, a Henan resident, questioned the official statistics, in an interview with The Epoch Times.

He explained that he expects official announcements on the deaths at different locations, but that the deaths wouldn’t add up to the true death toll. This includes deaths in the underground metro and in the Jingguang Road Tunnel—an underpass in Zhengzhou that was also flooded on July 20, which China’s state-run media reported trapped hundreds of vehicles inside.

The flood was not a natural disaster, Wang explained, but a man-made disaster because Chinese officials failed to issue public announcements before discharging water from overflowing reservoirs. The Chinese regime has blamed the floods on “once in a thousand years rains.”

Local authorities began discharging water from the Changzhuang Reservoir, which sits upstream from Zhengzhou, at around 10:30 a.m. local time on July 20. Hours later, Henan’s capital was inundated, but the public announcement on the discharge was not released until the early hours of July 21.

Wang Dejia, an online writer who goes by the pen name Jing Chu, told The Epoch Times that the actual number of deaths and missing persons will be a mystery.

To the Chinese regime, “it is not so much about rescue efforts, it is more about imposing an information lockdown, and the importance of people’s lives is trivial,” the writer said.

Li Yun contributed to this report.

From The Epoch Times