Richmond residents worry for families in China as city flooded

Fear for families back home

Some Richmond residents have gone through sleepless nights after seeing their hometown in China struggling to cope with record-breaking rainfall and mass flooding.

Tens of thousands of people in Zhengzhou have had to flee their homes and city after the unprecedented rainstorms hammered the region on Tuesday, turning city centre streets into rivers.

Harris Niu, who had just hung up a phone call with his relatives in Henan province, says the rainstorm has stopped and residents are slowly returning back to home or work.

However, Niu said he was extremely worried after watching the news showing pedestrians and bikers trying to cross flooded streets.

“I had been frantically calling my relatives to see if they are doing well and I still remembered the moment when my relatives picked up my call and tried to comfort me by saying they are safe and sound - I was relieved and whispered to myself, ‘Thanks God,’” said Niu.

Niu said he has been returning to Henan once a year to visit his relatives after immigrating to Canada.

He said he also donated some money to the local Henan friendship society to support the victims of the floods.

Sarah Pereira, who originally came from Zhengzhou and immigrated with her husband to Canada, has ridden the same emotional roller coaster as Niu.

Pereira said she was worried at the beginning after hearing her family members were out of running water and electricity and her brother had to spend one night at his office.

However, Pereira’s worries were relieved after being told by her parents that firefighters have been giving out food and shelter to citizens who were stranded.

“The crisis reminds us to cherish the little things around us - clean water, electricity and a roof over our head. We can’t take everything for granted,” said Pereira.

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