Wed. Dec 11th, 2019

South Africans warned of increased drowning risk during Easter weekend

Easter beach safety water usageDepartment of Water and Sanitation (DWS) appeals for vigilance on water use during Easter weekend, especially those who are travelling to coastal cities.

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The Department of Water and Sanitation (DWS) appeal to South Africans, businesses, and religious leaders to adhere to water safety measures during Easter weekend.

The spokesperson for the DWS, Sputnik Ratau, said in a media statement that South Africans will flock to coastal cities over the long weekend. People of different faiths will engage in various religious activities, such a baptism.

Increased risk of drowning

In some cases, these activities may lead to the loss of lives. This could be either due to drownings or “facing the danger of reptiles living in water.”

According to the DWS, the department intensified its Water Safety campaign in 2018, after the increase of drownings of children in dams, canals and rivers. He warns:

“The department would like to advise parents in particular to keep their children in check to avoid drownings. Adults are also warned not to consume alcohol substances near dams as they are likely to end up drowning.”

As per research conducted by the World Health Organisation (WHO), drowning was the third-leading cause of unintentional deaths globally. In Africa, the drowning mortality rate is considerably high at 13.1 per 100 000.

Beach Safety

Make children aware of the dangers of drowning, even if they are proficient swimmers. FedHealth urges parents to “teach children always to face the sea, even if they’re standing or playing in shallow water.”

In addition, heed riptide warnings. Lifeguards will demarcate areas which are safe for swimming. Moreover, teach children to stay between the flags.

The sea might appear calm but underlying currents could sweep unsuspecting swimmers away. If they do get swept away, they should know not to panic. Instead, they should swim parallel to the shore until they are free of the current.

According to the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration, “rip currents are fast moving, narrow channels that are most powerful at the surface of the water where the waves break on the beach. They sweep out to sea, cutting through breaking waves and making it difficult to swim if you are stuck in one.”

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