The Swat Valley is one of the most beautiful places in Pakistan.
It’s also known as the Switzerland Pakistan. It is famous for its beautiful mountains, clear flowing rivers, and delicious plums and peaches.
Swat Valley is a popular tourist destination and has many restaurants and hotels.
As we entered the valley we came across mudslides which had blocked a section of the main motorway. We could also see the flood plains and Swat in the distance.
Restaurants and guesthouses that are more than 30ft above normal water levels are often battered or washed away.
The only businesses that survived are covered in thick, feet-deep mud.
People are working to remove the debris from the valley’s lower section.
I was shown his garage by a car owner. It is located far from the banks.
He said that the car was filled up to the roof with water. “Now, we are cleaning out the mud and fixing the cars that were still inside.
Broken buildings emerge from the torrents
As floodwaters rose further upstream, he, along with many others, moved out of the most vulnerable areas.
We saw men on self-made rafts fighting the torrent as we headed north.
They were paddling up higher ground and carrying what they could.
The once-clear waters of the Swat River have turned to a greyish hue.
As people crossed the river at its lowest point, we watched, collecting their treasures, while young boys ran along the river’s banks.
It occurred to me that the land which would have been in front of them had been washed away.
Others carried their possessions in wheelbarrows along the river’s edge, passing damaged buildings that had re-emerged after the torrents that engulfed the area to their rooftops.
The Local man “hasn’t experienced this level of flooding previously, not even 2010′
As we watched, a single truck carrying a large USAID logo was driven towards the riverbank. It dumped the mud that they had cleared from flood-damaged homes and businesses into the river.
A group of men were also watching, and for a week they would have been submerged.
They now come to the river’s edge just to stare at it and wonder what has happened to their famous tourist spot and their livelihood.
One of the men said, “There was flooding in 2010 but not as severe as this.” The crowd began to form.
Another man says, “We haven’t seen this amount of flooding before,”
The government of Pakistan is blaming climate change. However, those who live here agree that the weather has been unusually changing for some time.
A younger man stated, “It’s very distinct, very different.”
He pointed to an older friend and said: “Compared to the past, the climate has changed, but he is older, ask him …”
The older man nodded in agreement and gestured.
“This is the second flood that has occurred, but it was much more dangerous. It destroyed everything. We have had floods before, but never like this.”
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Monsoon rains are not unusual in Pakistan. But this season they have been deadly and life-changing.
I asked them if they thought that a repetition of the heavy rains in mountains could cause more disaster for them and the country.
All of them nodded and one replied, “We are afraid.”