As Water Rises, So Do The People | How a Village Rebuilds After Devastating Floods | by Nawaz Khan | Inspiring Story #178

As Water Rises, So Do The People | How a Village Rebuilds After Devastating Floods | by Nawaz Khan | Inspiring Story #178


In a beautiful village, once called Paradise, disaster struck with a force no one could have imagined. Witness the power of community, the importance of protecting our planet, and the indomitable spirit that emerges when faced with adversity. Discover 3 powerful lessons that will inspire you to rise above challenges and create a better world. 

I once lived in a place I called the most beautiful place on planet Earth. Paradise.

A place where you’d wake to the gentle flow of the Hunza River; her waters glistening in the morning sun. Outside, towering peaks of Passu stood tall adorned in snow. As I prepared for a day’s work in the surrounding glacier, villagers stirred as people went about their daily routines. Our cattle grazed on lush meadows, and the aroma of fresh breakfast filled the air. My mother busied herself in the kitchen, while father and brothers headed out to the fields.

Every morning I was blessed to wake to this breathtaking scene. That was until the day of the big disaster. We saw it coming but could never be prepared for how fast it would hit and the devastating aftermath that followed.

Disaster Hits our Village

That morning, instead of the river’s gentle flow, I awoke abruptly to the sound of rushing water so loud and incessant, like a continuous roar in my ears. Still dark outside, I rubbed my eyes quickly, trying to shake off the drowsiness. Something was not right.

The river had been rising higher and higher every year. Experts and environmentalists warned us about the impact of global warming. Our glaciers were slowly melting and sea levels rising. But this rushing sound was strong and fearful. Like a warning screamed from the depths of Earth. I quickly dressed and headed towards the riverbank.

The air was cold and damp, and a sense of foreboding crept over me. Like a scene out of a nightmare. The river had risen to dangerous levels. Strong currents, so strong that the ground shook beneath my feet, were breaking off chunks of land at a rapid rate. Uprooted trees were swept away. I stood powerless, frozen with fear in the face of nature’s fury.

Soon the morning light broke over the horizon, and it became clear the situation was even worse than I had imagined. The river had overflowed its banks. The water was quickly creeping toward my family home.

I ran and told my mother that our home was under threat of collapsing into the river. The cattle, my family’s livelihood, who grazed peacefully in the meadow were in serious danger of being swept away by the raging waters. We called Emergency services, and our village was directed to evacuate the area immediately.

As floodwaters rose, so did the people of Passu.

The people of our village gathered at the highest point overlooking the valley below. The air was thick with the smell of damp earth, and the sound of rushing water echoed in our ears. Fear hung heavy in the air. We discussed our plan of action. We assigned one person to check the water flow daily and work on moving property and all families in the region to safer ground. Volunteers helped us from neighbouring villages, bringing food, blankets, and other supplies to aid us in this difficult time. My mother and the other women of the village worked tirelessly to save the cattle by shifting them to another place.

It took hours of hard work and dedication from the emergency services and volunteers to bring the situation under control. Eventually, the river began to recede, and the serious danger passed. We stood back and surveyed the damage. Our agricultural lands, our livelihood, were submerged, and sadly, some of mother’s cattle were lost to the river’s rage. 

Floods may have destroyed our property, but not our spirit - we will rebuild.

The sound of rushing water will never be the same again. I realized how fragile our existence is and how important it is to take action to protect our planet.  And as we face the challenge of rebuilding, I carry with me three powerful lessons:

_Watching my mother’s eyes fill with tears broke my heart, but it taught me the power of resilience and the importance of standing by our loved ones during tough times.

_Our survival depends on animals and nature. It’s up to us to take responsibility for our actions and work towards a sustainable future.

_In the face of adversity, we are uplifted by the kindness and generosity of those around us. People rallied together, and we can always count on the goodness of humanity.

With the big job we have ahead, it's easy to feel defeated and overwhelmed. But we will continue to hope for the future. In the face of adversity, we trust humanity to come together and overcome any obstacles in our way.

May our story remind you that together we are capable of rising above the challenges we face.

Don’t let the floods beat you down. Stay hopeful and summon the strength and resilience to overcome obstacles and emerge stronger on the other side. Because no matter how high the water may rise, we have the power to rise higher.  

We keep our heads up, our hearts strong, and we will never give up in the face of adversity. With determination, kindness, and a commitment to sustainability, we can build a better world for future generations and ourselves.

 Connect & Show Support for Nawaz Khan

Hello, I am Muhammad Nawaz Khan, hailing from Passu Gojal Hunza, Gilgit – Baltistan Pakistan

I'm from a world where nature’s magnificence knows no bounds, where sharp mountains stand tall and mighty, and where glaciers and meadows weave a needlepoint of breathtaking beauty.  Passu, is a hidden gem  nestled on the northern bank of the Hunza River, on the border of China, in the heart of Gilgit – Baltistan, Pakistan.

I work with the United Nations (GLOF Project)  in Northern Pakistan where I am lucky to combine my Mathematics degree with mountain trekking.  If you want to know how I managed to achieve an education even though I'm from a beautiful, yet very poor village - then please enjoy my story here:  Village Boy Finds a Way, Then Pays It Forward.  

Can you help?

In addition to my work with the UN I support two students in their education and volunteer tutoring 16 students from the local village (read more about my passion for education and volunteer projects here)   And now since the devastating floods in our village, I have taken a key role in rebuilding.  If you would like to know how you can support our rebuilding programme (even in a small way), then I would be so happy, and very much appreciate hearing from you.

Please reach out and connect with me  here.  


From Skipping School to PhD | A Village Boy’s Remarkable Journey

Inspirational story about an ordinary village boy from India, who grew up on a cashew farm. His parents were illiterate, he'd skip school, and there was little hope for his future ...

Until one day something unimaginable happened (almost a miracle), that changed his whole life around. He ended up with a PhD and his research on cashew farming and agriculture receives global recognition.

>> Click here to read

Share the Inspiration
  • Carol says:

    Thank you for sharing your inspiring story. This statement really spoke to me: ‘As the flood waters rose, so did the people of Passau,’ a testament to the resilience of the human spirit.

  • Karletta Marie says:

    Nawaz, your story has taught me much about facing our challenges with a spirit of positivity. Somehow, we can do it. When we work together we can do it. The way you care for your mother, and look out for your community is heart-warming. I hope we can visit your village one day.
    Thank you for sharing.

  • Susan H. Evans says:

    I loved the statement, “we have the power to rise higher.” Well said! I wish this writer, his family, and his village great success in rebuilding and renewing what was lost.

    • Karletta Marie says:

      Thank you Susan. I agree. I loved how Nawaz was able to turn the flood waters into a powerful metaphor to inspire others.

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    Hi, I'm karletta marie.

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