The Monsoon rains of South Asia struck a devastating blow to the region. The Swat Valley, which is in the foothills of the Himalayas, normally sits on the fringe of these annual rains, but this time the rains came with an intensity not seen in four generations. Old records of British India show a similar situation occurring in the early 1920s. The Swat river, the lifeline of the valley, normally a picturesque mountain stream, crested far above previously known flood stages, causing a massive torrent to surge downstream, destroying homes, roads, bridges, farmland and livestock in its wake. Hundreds of deaths have been reported and the tally keeps rising. This has created desperate conditions for towns and villages in the area. There is a major shortage of food and waterborne diseases such as diarrhea and dysentery have begun to spread. Power has been out for the last 10 days. The only way we have been able to communicate is by recharging our computers and cell phones at a home nearby which has a small generator. Unfortunately, even more rain is in the forecast and there is no estimate as to when the electricity, gas, tap water and phone lines will be available again.
Despite this castastrophic situation, I am extremely busy holding medical camps and health seminars two, sometimes three times a day in the flood-affected areas of Swat. We are getting a little help from a couple of NGOs, like CCP to supply rations to the affected people, but the majority of the effort is made by our own SRI Preventive Healthcare Program. My fear is that a lot of people will die of the waterborne diseases, and that is why I am holding health seminars so frequently in order to educate the population in disease prevention and also to treat them for dysentery and diarrhea.
Here are a couple of media references to the situation, although a simple search for Swat Valley Flood will get you updated news.
Here is an article from Fox: Pakistan’s Swat Valley survives Taliban insurgency only to face destruction from floods