Many migrant workers are stuck in flooded Chinese cities


File Photo: The aerial photo shows a flooded road after heavy rain in Zhengzhou, Henan Province, China on July 23, 2021. Photo taken with a drone.Reuters / Ally Song / File Photo

July 23, 2021

Emily Chow

ZHENGZHOU (Reuters) – For many migrant workers affected by severe flooding in Zhengzhou, central China, they are crossing the city to stay with relatives in less affected areas or returning to their rural homes. You can not.

They have to remain tied to life in the flooded areas of the city and too far from their families to reach in the event of severe traffic delays.

This means that they have survived without running water for days, have difficulty traveling to Zhengzhou, and worry about how to get back to work.

One of them is President Hu, a 40-year-old construction worker from Shandong Province who just gave his name. He distributes food and water and once a day goes into waist-high muddy water to get cell phone reception.

“I cannot go back to my hometown. I work here, ”he said, sitting in a park that was pulled up from the street and was no longer flooded.

“Some people have relatives nearby where they can go. It is not easy for us non-locals to leave. There is no way to get home and we don’t even work from home. . “

An estimated 280 million native migrant workers in China often flock to cities like Zhengzhou in search of better jobs, leaving their families behind and returning only once a year for the Lunar New Year. ..

The city of 12 million people recovered from the floods this week, and in just a few days it rained for a year.

According to state media, the death toll in Henan Province, where Zhengzhou is located, is 56, with five missing.[L1N2OY040]

Zhu Lingyan, 35, is a migrant worker whose family business was flooded.

Originally from a city more than 100 km from Zhengzhou, she opened a noodle restaurant just before the flood and invested 200,000 yuan ($ 31,000) in savings in her business.

“All devices are broken. It’s too hard, ”she said, trying to hold back her tears. She estimated the damage would cost up to 30,000 yuan to repair. “I have to stay. My husband works here and my children go to school here.”

(Report by Emily Chow, edited by Mike Collett-White)

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