SWAT: A lot could be said regarding the flood havoc triggered by torrential rains across the country. However, for those who witnessed it first hand, it says something entirely different.
Tourists swarm Madyan valley, nearly 60 kilometres away from Mingora, to enjoy its serenity. But the valley experienced a huge blow when it was hit by a flood which destroyed more than a dozen villages, washing away more than 500 houses. Nearly 1,500 tourists are still stranded here, while some of them have been rescued by army helicopters and Chinooks provided by the US under the Kerry-Lugar bill.
Javed Iqbal a local resident of the Civil Hospital area, told The Express Tribune that he had two houses, and a hotel in Madyan. “After three years, business picked up and then the rains hit on the July 26. On July 28, the water level rose so we had to evacuate the area. Then the water washed out the entire village right in front of us.”
“It was unbelievably dangerous, I still can’t believe everything was swept away. The river was roaring, letting go of nothing, now it seems that there were no buildings at all. There is a river flowing in place of our village.”
“The entire area requires food and medicine, but nobody has gotten here, only the Army came to our help, no one else,” he added.
Ismail a regular tourist from Mardan said, “We come every year to spend the summer and Ramazan here with our family. This year we rented a house here, when the rain started we were enjoying it unaware of the upcoming flood, but then the local people came and warned us to vacate the house because of the danger so we did. When the flood hit the area, it took away everything from us, our two cars and the rest of the property.”
“We have no contact with our family members in Mardan and we are waiting at the Army helipad for our turn so we can go back, while some of our people went by foot from here.”
A family from Charsadda while waiting at the helipad said, “We have seen the madness of nature, we have seen deaths with our own eyes, it was a horrible incident, so horrible that I have no words to explain it.”
“Our house at Charsadda has also been washed away and we have been stranded here, we were trapped on a cliff where no one could get to us but the Army came to our rescue.”
Maryam, a tourist from Rawalpindi, rescued by the army along with her family at GuliBagh helipad was very happy. “We were really disappointed by the long wait. Every moment seemed like a year, our recreational tour was transformed into pain as we were running out of money, and the food shortage was also knocking us down.”
Appreciating the efforts put forth by the army, she added, “It’s like we were given a new lease of life, thanks to the army.”
The army helicopter service assisted by the Chinook stopped once again as another spell of heavy rains engulfed the valley which not only increased the troubles of the local people but also doubled worries of the stranded tourists in Madyan.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 8th, 2010.
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