July 2021 may be remembered as a month of deadly floods around the world. Unprecedented rainfall has led to flooding across central Europe, with Germany and Belgium hit particularly badly. India has witnessed flash floods and landslides in Mumbai. Similar stories are coming out from Iran, the USA, Nigeria, Colombia, and New Zealand.
The latest news comes from China’s Henan province where more than one year's worth of rain came down in just three days, leading to the flooding of the provincial capital, Zhengzhou. According to authorities, at least 25 people have been killed and several are missing with 200,000 individuals having to evacuate their homes.
Days of heavy rain led to the collapse of roads and the flooding of the city’s subway system. It is believed that 12 people died in the flooded subway tunnels. Videos posted to social media show hundreds of cars floating down the street, as well as human chains of people rescuing others, where roads have given way and created waterfalls.
There are also concerns about the stability of the Yihetan dam, also located in the province. Authorities reported that the heavy rain led to a 20-meter (65.6-foot) breach of the dam and that it was at risk of collapse. The military was dispatched to carry out emergency blasting and flood diversion.
More common occurrences of exceptional rainfall and other extreme weather events are consequences of the climate crisis, which has been brought forward by the human emission of carbon dioxide since the industrial revolution. The last few weeks have once again show that prevention and mitigation are in desperate need of improvement. Climate change is a global problem that can and will affect everyone on this planet, although the most vulnerable groups wherever they are in the world continue to face the brunt of it.