The Department of Water and Sanitation has appealed to South Africans, particularly religious leaders, to be cautious and stick to water safety measures to avoid any possible drowning incidents that may occur during the Easter weekend.
“During this period, tens of thousands of people are expected to visit coastal areas to enjoy themselves at the country’s beaches, while people of different faiths are expected to be engaged in various religious activities such as baptism. Subsequently, these religious activities often lead to loss of lives of many due to drownings, while also facing the danger of reptiles living in water,” the department said.
The department said that in the past year, the rising number of drownings of children in dams, canals and rivers prompted the department to intensify its Water Safety Campaign in an effort to educate on the dangers associated with activities near water resources.
As people will be going to various holiday destinations and visiting dams across the country, the department advises parents to keep children in check to avoid drownings.
“Adults are also warned not to consume alcoholic substances near dams, as they are likely to end up drowning.”
A systematic review of drowning in South Africa conducted by experts at the University of Cape Town, Cape Peninsula University of Technology and Lifesaving South Africa found that the fatal drowning burden in South Africa was approximately three per 100 000 people, but was increasing as a proportion of all non-natural deaths.
The review, which was released in 2018, aimed to identify gaps in the knowledge base and priority intervention areas.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) concluded that drowning was the third leading cause of unintentional injury-related death globally, with an estimated mortality rate of 7.4 per 100 000 population.
The drowning mortality rate for the African region was considerably higher at 13.1 per 100 000 population and in 2012, was found to account for 20% of drowning globally. – SAnews.gov.za