Storm shatters dreams of Swat man

10 Sep 2020

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Gloomy Bakht Sherawan sitting in front of his destroyed house in Swat. — Dawn
Gloomy Bakht Sherawan sitting in front of his destroyed house in Swat. — Dawn

SWAT: With high hopes for a bright future, Bakht Sherawan went to the United Arab Emirates and started labour work there but all of a sudden his dreams were shattered when a thunderstorm struck his house on August 27, killing both his children and wife along with two brothers and a sister.

His house was struck by a flash flood that swept away half of it and killed six of his family members in Teerat Darra.

The flash flood caused by a cloud burst in Teerat and Shahgram valleys in Madyan killed a total of 11 people and injured 16 besides destroying 45 houses, two schools, about 10 bridges, at least 50 watermills and two mosques. The flash flood also washed away agricultural lands in both the valleys.

The 30-year-old Bakht Sherawan, sitting in the destroyed portion of his house, said that he was in a shock and could not believe that his world vanished in a wink. He said that he was excited to work abroad and earn money to make a future for his children.

“On the evening of 27 August when I came back from work, my friends were in a strange mood. They took my mobile phone, took out its battery and returned it to me. They also handed over an air ticket to me and said I had a flight tonight for Pakistan,” Bakht Sherawan told Dawn, adding that his friends did not tell him the reason for sending him back in emergency.

Bakht Sherawan’s wife, children, two brothers and one sister were killed when his house collapsed on Aug 17

“When I started my journey, various thoughts struck my mind. I thought something had happened to my father or mother but had not the slightest idea that something more devastating had happened,” he said with swollen eyes.

He said that his heart sank when he reached his hometown and saw his home from a distance. “I rushed home but it was destroyed and its major portion was swept away. My world has vanished, my daughter and son and their mother are no more. The flash floods killed my two brothers and a sister too,” he said.

Six members of his family including his wife, daughter Samina, 4, son Samiullah, 2, his two brothers Said Mohammad, 14, Gul Mohammad, 12 and his sister Nazamina Bibi ,12, were killed in the disaster while his grandmother, father, mother, two sisters and one brother survived miraculously.

Merajuddin, one of Bakht Sherawan’s neighbours, said that the heavy thunder and lightning started at 8am that day. He added that he heard some screams and when reached the site, he found that major portion of Bakht Sherawan’s house had collapsed while his grandmother, mother, two brothers and one sister were lying injured in different corners of the remaining portion of the house.

He said that other neighbours also reached and rescued the injured. “All the injured were in shock and could not speak. They seemed terrified and senseless,” he said.

Relatives have appealed to the government to compensate Bakht Sherawan for his destroyed house.

Published in Dawn, September 10th, 2020