Emergency workers in the central Chinese city of Zhengzhou said they expected to pump out a flooded road tunnel, where many cars were reportedly trapped, by Saturday night. The authorities have not released an official death toll from the tunnel, but news portal ThePaper.cn quoted an unnamed official in charge of rescue operations as saying that his team had checked all of the cars at the site, and found four dead. The rescuers were continuing to pump water out of the tunnel but no other victims had been found, he was quoted as saying. However, as on Saturday evening, people continued to post on social media about missing family members who they feared had been trapped in the tunnel as well as at a flooded subway station in the city, where at least 12 people died. More than 9.3 million people have now been affected by the flooding in central China, according to the Henan provincial authorities, more than triple the 3 million reported on Thursday . At least 58 people have died, with another five still missing, and the rain has caused economic damage worth 82 billion yuan (US$12.7 billion), according to the local authorities. About 815,000 people have been temporarily evacuated from their homes, while another 1.1 million were relocated by the government. The Jingguang Road Tunnel in Zhengzhou, the provincial capital, flooded in five minutes on Tuesday evening, trapping hundreds of vehicles, according to local reports. A worker from Fujian Qiaolong Emergency Equipment Company at the site said the operation had been going on for two days and some sections were still flooded with up to 2 metres (6.6 feet) of water. Some of the vehicles had been salvaged, he said, but there are others submerged at the bottom of the tunnel and it was likely to take at least another day to pump out the water. China floods: the struggle to rescue desperate, stranded villagers A 2km (1.4-mile) branch of the tunnel that passes through the densely populated city centre has frequent traffic jams, and congestion worsens during the rainy season, according to the Shanghai-based media outlet Yicai. It reported that the bodies of some of the victims had been recovered on Friday, when a number of vehicles were also salvaged. The deadly floods – which the local authorities have described figuratively as a “ once in a thousand years event ” – caused extensive damage in Zhengzhou and cut off electricity and water supplies. When South China Morning Post reporters reached the tunnel on Friday night, drainage trucks were still pumping out floodwater, while several mud-stained vehicles that had been salvaged from the tunnel were sitting on a nearby road. Traffic had partially reopened on both sides of the tunnel, although some sections were still restricted. Police officers standing near the scene instructed drivers not to stay for too long or to approach pedestrians. There were a few onlookers at the site, one of whom, a resident named Wang, said his neighbourhood’s electricity supply had been cut off since Tuesday and he had gone out to find somewhere to charge his phone. “I was lucky I was home all day that day,” he said, adding that his nephew almost died trying to get out of a train. “When my nephew came out of the station, the water was already over his chest and if he had been a little later, he might not have been able to get out,” Wang said. A taxi driver who did not wish to be identified said that the power in his home had also been cut, but that he had at least managed to salvage his car. “The rain was too heavy [on Tuesday]. I parked the car on higher ground.” Shopping malls and restaurants near the tunnel have reopened and the owner of a flower shop on the street said electricity supplies were restored around noon on Friday. Communist Party mouthpiece People’s Daily reported that power supplies in the city would be restored on Saturday and the water supply would be “basically restored” by the next day. The town of Mihe in Gongyi, one of the worst affected areas of the province, was covered in a thick layer of silt on Saturday afternoon, with heaps of rubbish washed up by the floods piled against the entrances to shops. Rescue workers were busy repairing telecommunication facilities and removing the silt with forklifts. One bridge in the centre had collapsed and a temporary bridge had been erected beside it. Gongyi was hit by extremely heavy rainfall from 7pm on Monday to 3pm on Tuesday with 609.1mm (24 inches) falling in that period. The head of the local meteorological bureau was washed away by floods on Tuesday but was rescued by a passer-by. At least four people had been confirmed dead in Gongyi by Wednesday. However, there were still many posts on social media by residents looking for missing relatives. Liu Ruibin, Mihe’s deputy party secretary, said access to 12 villages had been restored, and the biggest problem now was that there was no power, no water, and no phone signal in the villages, but these were “being gradually restored”. More than 60 people were staying in a temporary shelter because their homes had been damaged, he added. When asked about domestic media reports that people from the villages were still missing, he said he “had no knowledge of that”. An employee of Shandong Mobile surnamed Ai said he had gone to the town on Wednesday to help repair the telecoms infrastructure and that the mobile signal in the town had been restored, but it would take up to 15 days to resume services in the villages. Meanwhile, the city of Xinxiang has been hit by further heavy rainstorms, which submerged a large number of homes in outlying villages. The flood control headquarters in Xinxiang, where thousands are reported to have been trapped by rising waters, said on Friday that the banks of the Communism Canal had been breached, flooding the Wei River and leaving nearby villages in a “critical situation”. Residual traces on the walls of several homes suggest that indoor water levels had reached chest height, according to a report from the official news agency Xinhua on Saturday. The floods also damaged a section of a dam on the Wei River in Hebi on Thursday evening, according to media reports, leaving many villages in danger. Zhengzhou mops up but other cities prepare for flood havoc to come The authorities failed to stop it from overflowing despite dumping several truckloads of stone on the breach, according to the 21st Century Business Herald . Its report on Friday quoted an unnamed official as saying that no casualties had occurred thanks to the timely evacuation of all nearby villages. One villager from East Shilipu on the outskirts of Xinxiang, a woman named Meimei, said floodwaters from the Communism Canal had backed up into her village on Saturday morning, reaching chest height. The entire village workforce had been mobilised to block the flood with sandbags at the north entrance of the village, she said. “We first tried to block the flood in the north, then we rushed to the east entrance to block the flood there, and now we are back to the north entrance again,” she said. She added that her mother, sister and husband had been suffering from persistent diarrhoea after wading through the floods. Floodwater is often contaminated with sewage and other pollutants, and authorities have advised residents not to drink unboiled tap water. At present, water and electricity are still available in the village, but they are occasionally cut off. “The floods are rising, and we are still trying our best to block it. If it continues to rise, I don’t know what we can do, maybe wait to be rescued,” she said.