An aerial view of the flooded Drab Shahgram village, Swat. (Right) Homeless residents take shelter in a mosque after their houses were washed away in flash floods. — Dawn
An aerial view of the flooded Drab Shahgram village, Swat. (Right) Homeless residents take shelter in a mosque after their houses were washed away in flash floods. — Dawn

SWAT: The recent catastrophic floods wreaked havoc across the Swat district, but for the residents of Drab Shahgram village it was a second disaster befalling them just in the span of 12 years as the July 2010 floods had also washed away their houses, crops and orchards.

On August 25, when unprecedented rains and floods hit Swat, the memory of the tragic 2020 deluge quickly struck the residents of Drab Shahgram village.

“We were not expecting that once again another flood of phenomenal magnitude will strike them more severely than the previous one. We had not yet completely recovered from the previous catastrophe as we hardly managed to reconstruct our houses and restore some of the agricultural lands. But on August 25, flash floods again inundated our properties, lands and orchards,” said Bakht Jehan, an elder of the village, while sitting with other villagers in the central mosque as the floods have taken away their houses once again.

Bakth Jehan said that about 20 houses were washed away in the village, while few more were submerged by the floodwater. “Luckily, we shifted our family members to safe places when we realised about the coming floods. Our men are staying in the mosque while we have sent our women to stay with our relatives,” he said, adding that they were unable to withstand such catastrophes in future.

He said that the villagers had no lands except the one near the river and they would reconstruct their houses because they could not live under open sky for long.

“We lost all of our stock of food as well as standing crops and orchards. Our relatives and the people in the neighbouring villages are arranging food for us,” said Ajmal Shah, another resident of the village.

He said that so far, a few local social organisations had approached them and collected data of the damage, but no government agency reached them. “We are in need of both food and non-food items, and appeal to the government agencies to provide us with these items immediately so that the homeless people could survive,” said Ajmal Shah.

Drab Shahgram village, which is located near the famous Madyan valley in Bahrain tehsil, is known for its agricultural produce, including vegetables, grains and fruits, but the devastating floods have almost washed away the entire agricultural land. Majority of the families are dependent upon their agricultural produce for subsistence.

Published in Dawn, August 29th, 2022

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