Reckless crossing of wadis;non-abidance of safety instructions near water bodies and beaches; and parents leaving kids unattended at swimming pools or water logged areas are major reasons behind the surging number of drowning cases in the Sultanate of Oman.
More than 500 drowning incidents were reported in Oman in 2021, a recent statistics has revealed. Speaking to the Observer, a senior official from the Civil Defence and Ambulance Authority (CDAA) said that the water rescue teams dealt with 521 calls of drowning accidents in 2021.
“Swimming requires caution and should not be carried out in undesignated sites,” he warned, adding that “In most cases, the victims are children as a result of negligence and lack of supervision by parents. Many of them either attempted to cross the swamps of water or were playing in the swimming pools in farms and rest houses without knowing the danger involved resulting in loss of many lives.”
According to the latest WHO data issued on World Drowning Prevention Day, such deaths in Oman reached 211 or 1.42 per cent of total deaths and the age adjusted death rate is 4.91 per 100,000 of population ranking Oman 26 in the world.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) issued a call for people around the world to “do one thing” to prevent drowning. As one of the leading causes of death globally for children and young people ages 1–24, and the third leading cause of injury-related deaths overall, drowning tragically claims more than 236,000 lives each year. To galvanise action and mark World Drowning Prevention Day, the Jet d’Eau in Geneva will be illuminated in blue this evening, accompanied by similar actions in other cities around the world.
More than 90 per cent of drowning deaths occur in low- and middle-income countries, with children under the age of 5 being at highest risk. These deaths are frequently linked to daily, routine activities, such as bathing, collecting water for domestic use, travelling over water on boats or ferries, and fishing. The impacts of seasonal or extreme weather events – including monsoons – are also a frequent cause of drowning and these impacts are largely preventable through a number of interventions.
“Every year, around the world, hundreds of thousands of people drown. Most of these deaths are preventable through evidence-based, low-cost solutions,” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of WHO. “Today, cities around the world are lighting up their monuments in blue light as a call to action for each of us to do our part to prevent drowning. Let’s put a stop to drowning.”
The CDAA statistics show an average of 400 drowning incidents were reported a year in the past mostly during rains.
“By law, crossing the wadis (valleys) and low-lying areas despite the warning is a punishable offence and can have serious repercussions,” CDAA official said.