SWAT/ UPPER DIR:
Torrential downpour and floods have inflicted widespread damage on infrastructure, crops and human settlements across Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) as most small bridges connecting far-flung villages have been washed away in Swat, Dir Upper, Dir Lower, Kohistan, Tank and Kurram tribal districts.
Many villages in the scenic valleys of Kalam and Bahrain have been cut off as a result of destruction of linking bridges.
Kumrat valley is completely disconnected from the rest of Dir Upper district as all the bridges are gone and locals are stranded in their own villages.
Tourists have been vacated and shifted to safe places by helicopters but the locals are trapped there.
Similarly, Tehsil Kalkot in Dir Upper has been disconnected from the rest of the country for the past three days and locals are facing severe shortage of food and medicines.
Kumrat valley, Jazz Banda and Kalkot have been left cut off as all the three areas were dependent on a single bridge which is gone in the floods.
Nearly all small bridges connecting Dir proper to the villages lying on the outskirts such as Gawal Dara, Gag Darra and Ashri Darra have been destroyed.
Flood victims are stranded in these areas and have been without any help for the past three days.
Meanwhile, local residents were able to find the body of a child who had drowned in the nullah in Barwal.
Authorities were able to clear the main Dir-Peshawar Road which was opened for vehicular traffic on Sunday.
Rains destroyed vegetables on thousands of acres in the district, leaving farmers without their only source of income.
Deputy Commissioner Dir Upper Akmal Khan Khattak said that the situation was completely under control and authorities were working day and night to reach the flood victims.
Telephone service has been restored in the district after two days.
“Swat, Dir Upper and Dir Lower have been hit hard by the floods. Schools have been destroyed along with parks and other infrastructure and it would take years and billions of rupees to rebuild,” claimed a government official.
Roads have also been badly damaged and in many places completely swept away by the floods.
On Sunday, after several days of torrential downpour Swat valley finally experienced bright sunny day after rainfall stopped in the morning.
According to the Met Office there was no forecast for rains on Sunday.
With the improvement in weather conditions, administration started vacating trapped tourists from Kalam, Utrore and adjacent areas by helicopters.
Deputy Commissioner Swat told The Express Tribune food items are also being sent to these areas by helicopters.
The provincial government has released an additional fund of Rs2.5 billion to help the flood affected people across the province, said a dispatch of the Establishment & Administration Department.
The approval for the release of the fund has been granted by the cabinet.
Chief Minister Mahmood Khan has vowed to utilize all available resources for the rehabilitation of flood affectees and provision of relief to them.
The chief minister said that the flood victims would not be left alone at this critical time and immediate steps for their rehabilitation would be taken soon once the situation improves.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 29th, 2022.