Press release: New flood-resistant bridge opened by UNOPS and SFD to benefit residents of Swat Valley

SWAT ‒ UNOPS and the Saudi Fund for Development (SFD) inaugurated the newly constructed Shahgram Bridge in Madyan, Swat Valley, in Pakistan’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province.

The first in a series of eight bridges, Shahgram Bridge was built by UNOPS in partnership with the Government of Khyber Pakhtunkh​wa province (KPK). Funded by SFD, the pedestrian bridge stretches 40 meters in length and is specifically designed to withstand flooding. The bridge connects the town of Shahgram with seven sub-villages to the main hill station of Madyan. It is hoped that the new bridge will benefit 1,500 households and some 12,000 people around Swat Valley. 

Held on 10 June 2015, the inauguration ceremony was led by special guest, Mr. Kifayat Ullah Khan, Commissioner of the Malakand District​​​, together with Mr. Saeed A Al Ghamdi, Head of Projects for the Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia, Mr. Muhammad Abbas Khan, UNOPS Project Manager, Mr. Azad Khan Deputy Inspector General (DIG) Police Malakand and Mr. Muhammad Kamran Khan, Assistant Commissioner of Bahrain, Kalam KPK. Also in attendance were provincial dignitaries, district authorities and community members.

Mr. Ullah Khan said: "The local government and administration will extend their full support to UNOPS, SFD and other similar organizations for the development of the region."

Mr. Al Ghamdi expressed the Saudi Government's continued support to similar projects to help the people of Pakistan, including in areas badly affected by the floods in 2010​​, and stated: "UNOPS has paved the path for the economic development of the region by building a flood resilient bridge."

"Shahgram Bridge is not just a milestone for your community but also a milestone for UNOPS. It is an honour to be part of the Swat Valley's path to recovery", said Mr. Abbas Khan who spoke on behalf of Mr. Mikko Lainejoki, Director of UNOPS office in Afghanistan, which coordinates the organization's work in Pakistan.

UNOPS is providing infrastructure services for the rehabilitation of eight pedestrian bridges and two irrigation channels, servicing 25,000 acres of land in Kalam and Swat. The project aims to revive social and economic activity to the district that was severely affected, following the devastating floods in 2010.