Critically ill patients rely on manual respirators during floods and power outages in China

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Critically ill patients rely on manual respirators during floods and power outages in China
Residents wade through floodwaters on a flooded road amid heavy rainfall in Zhengzhou, Henan province, China, on July 20, 2021. (China Daily via Reuters)

Record-breaking rainfall ravaged Zhengzhou, Henan, and other parts of China on July 20 local time, causing severe floods. Authorities claimed that the floods were “once in 5,000 years.” Aside from the direct casualties caused by the floods, most urban areas in Zhengzhou, the worst-hit city so far, have been without power. Critically ill patients in hospitals were put at risk because they could only use manual respirators

The floods halted traffic in Zhengzhou. As stagnant water rose, schools and hospitals became “islands.” Residents found themselves trapped and unable to travel. The flooding of the city’s power supply system cut off many parts of the city, including The First Affiliated Hospital of Zhengzhou University, often referred to as “the largest hospital in the world,” with the most surgeries in China.

On July 20, at 9 p.m., a Weibo user requested assistance, stating that her father was still in the intensive care unit of The First Affiliated Hospital of Zhengzhou University, hooked up to tracheal intubation and a ventilator. Due to the heavy downpour, she was unable to rush to the hospital, and the exit to her residential building was flooded. She was distressed because her father was critically ill.

Our reporter noticed that the above-mentioned Weibo post had been deleted, but another user saved a screenshot of it and has since shared it.

According to one employee of Zhengzhou University’s First Affiliated Hospital, the entire hospital was without power in the early morning of July 21. Elevators were not working, and the backup power supply was not available. Nearly 3,000 medical personnel remained at their posts, calming the patients. Medical personnel resorted to artificial oxygen supply airbags for patients who required oxygen. Approximately 600 critically ill patients were transferred to other hospitals.

At 6 a.m. on July 21, a Zhengzhou resident who requested anonymity stated that she did not arrive at work on July 20 and that her colleague was trapped in an office more than 20 stories high. Her residence was also without power. When she went to a nearby store to charge her phone, she used the internet to contact the reporters.

According to Hong Kong media reports, all subways and buses in Zhengzhou were suspended immediately after the subway flooded on the afternoon of July 20, as revealed by Ms. Ding, a Zhengzhou resident. Approximately 95% of the city was without power. Fortunately, her workplace had not been affected, but there was a power and water outage at her home, and she was unable to take public transportation home.

Heavy rains have been falling in Zhengzhou, Jiaozuo, Xinxiang, and other parts of Henan Province since July 17. Zhengzhou experienced the most severe flooding, with the heaviest rain falling on July 19 and 20. The three-day precipitation in Zhengzhou was a record 617.1 mm from 8 p.m. on July 17 to 8 p.m. on July 20. (24.3 inches). During this time, the hourly and single-day precipitation exceeded the 60-year record set in 1951 when Zhengzhou was founded.

According to Henan’s Department of Water Resources, the accumulated precipitation at Zhengzhou West Railway Station was 854 mm (33.6 inches) from 8 a.m. on July 18 to 2 a.m. on July 21, Jiangang was 818 mm (32.2 inches), and Sigou was 756 mm (29.7 inches).

The department also stated that rainfall in Henan occurred “once every 5,000 years.” It announced that the level 2 emergency response for flood and drought disaster prevention would be upgraded to level 1 on July 21 at 2:30 a.m. Concerning the CCP’s claim of “once in 5,000 years,” it is unclear where the data came from, given that China’s precipitation records only date back to 1951, according to state news agency Xinhua.

Severe waterlogging and water accumulation occurred in the Wulongkou parking lot and surrounding areas of Zhengzhou Metro Line 5. At 6 p.m. on July 20, stagnant water smashed open the retaining wall, causing subway Line 5 trains to stop running through the tunnels at Beach Temple Street Station and Shakou Road Station. Floodwater poured into the underground tunnels and Line 5 trains, trapping passengers who were retching and gasping for air.

According to Zhengzhou authorities, more than 500 passengers were evacuated from the flooded subway line on July 21, with 12 people killed and five others injured. The Chinese regime announced on July 22 that 33 people had died as a result of the flooding, with eight still missing.

In the meantime, Chinese netizens have taken to social media to demand that the regime reveal the true death toll. According to Tuesday Road Company, a Hong Kong-based independent media outlet, “Zhengzhou Officials Immensely Concealed the Death Toll.” The video shows a packed funeral parlor and the chief of the local meteorological bureau being washed away, implying that the actual death toll in Henan is incomparable to the numbers released by the authorities.

According to The Paper, a Chinese digital newspaper, on the morning of July 20, Zhao Jianbiao, chief of the local meteorological bureau, went to the local government office, but when he returned, he was washed away due to extremely heavy rainfall. Fortunately, he was rescued in the afternoon by locals.

Many people believe that the flood release from the upstream reservoir has exacerbated the floodwater levels in Zhengzhou. According to CCTV, the water level of the Changzhuang Reservoir in Zhengzhou exceeded the warning line by 38 cm at 10:57 a.m. on July 20. (15 inches). The flood discharge began as directed by the provincial and municipal flood control headquarters. The discharge flow rate was three cubic meters per second (105 cubic feet).

Other reservoirs, with the exception of the Changzhuang Reservoir, discharged water around 8 a.m. on July 21 due to high water alarms, but their exact opening times are unknown. According to Time-Weekly, at 8:29 a.m. on July 21, Henan’s Department of Water Resources staff reported that 47 reservoirs in Henan had reached full capacity and were discharging floodwaters, including eight large-scale reservoirs and 39 medium-sized reservoirs.

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