Death toll jumps to 99 in flooding in central China

BEIJING (AP) — The death toll has jumped to 99 from floods that hit a province in central China last week, authorities said Thursday.

An official in Zhengzhou, the capital of Henan province, announced 26 more deaths in two outlying areas, state media reported. Of them, 18 were to the southwest in Xinmi city, and eight to the west in Xingyang city.

Record rainfall in Zhengzhou nine days ago inundated the city’s subway system, killing 14 people, and turned streets into rushing rivers, washing away vehicles.

The storms then moved north, flooding other parts of the province including the hard-hit city of Xinxiang.

Questions have swirled about the death toll since the storm. A Chinese online media outlet, The Paper, reported that more than 200 wrecked vehicles had been found in a flooded tunnel in Zhengzhou. The discovery raised questions about whether the occupants had gotten out in time.

The waters have receded in some area, but others remain flooded, with relief and cleanup efforts underway.

Authorities said more people remain missing and estimated the economic losses at 91 billion yuan ($14.1 billion).

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