07/27/2022, 17.47
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UN: more than 14,000 children drown in Bangladesh every year

The figure was released on World Drowning Prevention Day. Some 236,000 drowning deaths are reported per year. Children are at risk not only during floods but also from daily chores.

Dhaka (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Drowning is the second leading cause of death in Bangladesh, with more than 14,000 children dying this way every year

The World Health Organisation (WHO) and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) reported the data on Monday, World Drowning Prevention Day, at a press conference.

"It is heartbreaking that so many lives are lost each year in this country. We know that these deaths are preventable," said Sheldon Yett, UNICEF representative to Bangladesh.

Worldwide, 236,000 people drown every year, with 90 per cent of cases occurring in low- and middle-income countries. Children under the age of five are most at risk.

According to international NGOs, the main problems in Bangladesh are the lack of awareness and poor swimming skills.

According to UN data, deaths are often linked to daily chores like collecting water for domestic use, bathing, boat or ferry trips and fishing, plus extreme weather events like seasonal monsoons.

Drowning is “the third leading cause of unintentional death worldwide,” noted WHO representative to Bangladesh Bardan Jung Rana.

Greater awareness at the local level, investments in facilities where children and teenagers can learn to swim, protective barriers, and enforcing navigation regulations would be enough.

Last year, the UN General Assembly established World Drowning Prevention Day precisely to highlight that deaths by drowning are preventable. Bangladesh itself launched a three-year programme to address the issue.

The government is now considering taking over 2,500 daycare centres funded by Bloomberg Philanthropies, and extend the programme to an additional 5,500 facilities to support 200,000 children under the age of five.

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