Residents mourn drowned subway riders in central China

Jul 27, 2021, 11:11 AM | Updated: 6:23 pm
People pay their respects outside the entrance to a subway station in Zhengzhou in central China's ...

People pay their respects outside the entrance to a subway station in Zhengzhou in central China's Henan Province, Tuesday, July 27, 2021. Residents laid flowers on Tuesday at the entrance of the subway station where more than a dozen people died after a record-breaking downpour flooded large swaths of Henan province in central China. (AP Photo/Dake Kang)

(AP Photo/Dake Kang)

ZHENGZHOU, China (AP) — Residents on Tuesday laid bouquet after bouquet, the neatly tied yellow and white flowers standing on end, outside an entrance to a subway station in central China where 14 people died last week after a record-breaking downpour flooded large swaths of Henan province.

Torrents of water rushed into a subway line in the provincial capital, Zhengzhou, trapping a train with hundreds of passengers between two stations. The deluge drowned some and left others gasping for breath in chest-high water until emergency crews could reach them.

“I’m filled with grief,” said Zhengzhou resident Zhang Shuai, 35, who bowed three times in front of the entrance after laying a bouquet of chrysanthemums. “I hope that their relatives can recover from this tragedy as soon as possible.”

At least 71 people perished in the floods, according to an updated death toll Tuesday. Zhengzhou authorities said 14 had died in the subway station, up from 12 reported earlier.

A crowd of about 50 people stood outside under a partly cloudy sky as streams of mourners and delivery drivers left bouquets wrapped in black paper in a rectangular area extending from the shuttered station entrance. Some tucked in notes, with one reading: “I hope there are no floods in heaven. Rest in peace.”

Questions have swirled about the design and safety of the Zhengzhou subway line 5, which opened just two years ago. Some relatives of those who died have criticized the Zhengzhou subway authority, accusing it of continuing to operate the trains even when it became clear it would be dangerous to do so. They said subway officials had obstructed the search for missing relatives.

“I no longer have a husband; my daughter no longer has a father,” the wife of Sha Tao, a Zhengzhou resident who drowned in the subway, wrote on Weibo, a Chinese social media platform. “If they had prepared contingency plans ahead of time, the number of deaths could have been minimized. The Zhengzhou subway must take the blame and responsibility!”

A video conference held by the central government Monday said subway systems nationwide should enhance their emergency response capabilities, implement flood-control measures and respond quickly to early warnings, the official Xinhua News Agency said.

On Monday, photos on social media showed yellow plastic barricades set up around the bouquets, blocking them from view and prompting criticism. A video published by a local newspaper, Dahe Daily, showed the barricades being taken down later.

The barricades around one entrance were gone Tuesday, and journalists could take photos and conduct interviews. The procession proceeded peacefully.

Still, the atmosphere was tense at times. Uniformed and plainclothes police monitored the scene. AP journalists were asked to show identification but allowed to stay after being told to do “neutral” reporting.

At one point, a woman who came with a child sparred with plainclothes officers after she was told to hustle along.

“I’m not leaving! I don’t think driving people away is going to work!” she snapped.

The officers fell silent. The woman stood with the child, pointing to the messages tucked into the bouquets. She snapped a photo with her phone, took one last look, then walked away.

___

Associated Press news assistant Caroline Chen contributed to this report.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Serhiy Shvets, an employee at Europe's largest Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant, talks to the Assoc...
Associated Press

Ukraine nuclear workers recount abuse, threats from Russians

ZAPORIZHZHIA, Ukraine (AP) — Alone in his apartment in the Russian-occupied city of Enerhodar in southeastern Ukraine, nuclear plant security guard Serhiy Shvets looked out his kitchen window in late May and saw gunmen approaching on the street below. When his buzzer rang, he was sure he was about to die. Shvets, a former soldier […]
24 hours ago
FILE - A road is completely filled with a tall pile of debris from destroyed beachfront homes and b...
Associated Press

Ian deals blow to Florida’s teetering insurance sector

Daniel Kelly and his wife bought a 1977 doublewide mobile home in May for about $83,000 at Tropicana Sands, a community for people 55 and older in Fort Myers, Florida. But he ran into roadblocks when he tried to insure it. Managers at Tropicana Sands told him he likely wouldn’t be able to find a […]
24 hours ago
FILE - This undated photo provided by The Texas Department of Criminal Justice shows John Henry Ram...
Associated Press

Texas inmate who fought prayer, touch rules to be executed

HOUSTON (AP) — A Texas death row inmate whose case clarified the role of spiritual advisers in death chambers nationwide is scheduled for execution Wednesday, despite efforts by a district attorney to stop his lethal injection. John Henry Ramirez, 38, was sentenced to death for killing 46-year-old Pablo Castro, a convenience store clerk, in 2004. […]
24 hours ago
A customer looks at refrigerated items at a Grocery Outlet store in Pleasanton, Calif.,. on Thursda...
Associated Press

‘Best Before’ labels scrutinized as food waste concerns grow

As awareness grows around the world about the problem of food waste, one culprit in particular is drawing scrutiny: “best before” labels. Manufacturers have used the labels for decades to estimate peak freshness. Unlike “use by” labels, which are found on perishable foods like meat and dairy, “best before” labels have nothing to do with […]
24 hours ago
FILE - President Joe Biden attends an event to support legislation that would encourage domestic ma...
Associated Press

Can Biden save democracy one US factory job at a time?

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden is working to create a manufacturing revival — even helping to put factory jobs in Republican territory under the belief it can restore faith in U.S. democracy. The latest development came Tuesday, when chipmaker Micron announced an investment of up to $100 billion over the next 20-plus years to […]
24 hours ago
FILE - People stand on the destroyed bridge to Pine Island as they view the damage in the aftermath...
Associated Press

Biden to focus on hurricane victims in Florida, not politics

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Joe Biden will visit hurricane-ravaged Florida with a pledge that federal, state and local governments will work as one to help rebuild homes, businesses and lives — putting politics on mute for now to focus on those in need. Hurricane Ian has resulted in at least 84 people confirmed dead, including […]
24 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Here are 4 signs the HVAC unit needs to be replaced

Pool renovations and kitchen upgrades may seem enticing, but at the forefront of these investments arguably should be what residents use the most. In a state where summertime is sweltering, access to a functioning HVAC unit can be critical.
...
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Ways to prevent clogged drains and what to do if you’re too late

While there are a variety of ways to prevent clogged drains, it's equally as important to know what to do when you're already too late.
...
Dr. Richard Carmona

Great news: Children under 5 can now get COVID-19 vaccine

After more than two years of battle with an invisible killer, we can now vaccinate the youngest among us against COVID-19. This is great news.
Residents mourn drowned subway riders in central China