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Bridge to Recovery

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There used to be a long road bridge across this valley, connecting the two parts of the village of Zoladher in northwestern Pakistan. It started where the group of men is standing at the top left of this photo.

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Villagers stand at the point where the road between the two sides of Zoladher now ends. The road, along with the bridge, was washed away by flood water, which significantly widened the valley.

 

 

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Nizarmuddin Gulbarmain is one of the villagers. He desperately wants his five children to go to the village school. Unfortunately, it's on the other side of the river.

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To get to school, children who live on Nizarmuddin's side of the river have to take the rickety cable car across the river valley.

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The cable car ride costs 10 rupees per person, each way. For a family with five children, that's 100 rupees - more than many flood victims can afford.

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To make the cable car work, locals have attached the main cable to the front wheel of a car. To make the car move one way, they use first gear. To make it come back, they use reverse.

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Nizarmuddin Gulbarmain and two friends from the village of Zoladher indicate where the new bridge will be built.

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Right now, the men of the village are building the road that will allow cars to come down the side of the river valley to the exact point where they will construct the bridge. This wasn't necessary before because the original started much higher up the sides of the valley.

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Nizarmuddin says the new bridge is crucial to his community's post-flood recovery. As well as enablingchildren to get to school, it will mean local traffic can avoid a 20-minute loop upstream that is now necessary.

When the monsoon flood waters surged down the Swat River near the village of Zoladher, they smashed the only bridge linking the two parts of the village.