Drone footage showed on Thursday people being ferried to safety through floodwater in heavy machinery and by raft in Zhengzhou, the capital of China's Henan province.
Tens of thousands of people were being evacuated from flood-hit regions of central China as officials raised the death toll from heavy rains that have deluged the province for almost a week to 33 people.
In Zhengzhou, where the bad weather reached a peak on Tuesday, the skies had cleared but floodwaters were still at waist height, or higher, with entire streets underwater in many areas.
Some 617.1 mm (24.3 inches) of rain fell in Zhengzhou from Saturday to Tuesday, almost the equivalent of the city's annual average of 640.8 mm (25.2 inches), inundating the subway and trapping people at work as others took cover at makeshift shelters at museums, libraries and cinemas.
China subway flood survivors texted WILLS to loved ones and said last goodbyes as water rose neck deep and air ran out
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