The recent drowning deaths in Goa have brought to the fore the need for safety measures around water bodies. But more than that there is a need for awareness to know that if one doesn't possess the skill of swimming, he or she is not safe around water.
Now, GOACAN will observe a fortnight-long awareness initiative on the need for drowning prevention measures in the state to obtain action-related responses from government officials, elected representatives, heads of educational institutions, parent-teachers associations, NGOs and industry and trade associations among others.
The awareness fortnight which will end on July 25, World Drowning Prevention Day, is part of the ongoing campaign by GOACAN to highlight the need for acceptance that drowning is an important cause of accidental deaths in Goa and that these deaths are preventable.
The tragic deaths in the recent past of children, students, youth and adults from Goa as well as tourists, due to drowning in rivers, wells, water tanks and unused quarries is a cause for concern.
It may be noted that GOACAN began its campaign in July 2020 to make consumers and all stakeholders aware of the importance of an action plan to prevent drowning cases in the unused laterite stone quarries of Goa.
Subsequently, GOACAN highlighted in April 2021 the increase in drowning cases occurring in the river at Kodar in Ponda taluka; in May 2021 the need for preventive action to avoid drowning cases during the monsoons in the stone quarries of Bardez and Sattari talukas; and in July 2021 to prevent drowning cases in the river at Okamb in Dharbandora taluka.
In April 2022, GOACAN took up the need to prevent drowning in water tanks and drew the attention of the agencies like the Directorate of Agriculture, the Water Resources Department, the Public Works Department, the Department of Forests and the Department of Animal Husbandry & Veterinary Services.
Meetings and site inspections were held under the chairmanship of the respective deputy collectors which identified short and long-term measures to be implemented.
It has been noticed that adequate safety signages are not in place. Proper knowledge of the first aid to be given to survivors as well as the absence of safety equipment that is needed on location are some of the immediate issues that need to be addressed.
The need for teaching swimming, water safety and safe rescue skills, training bystanders in safe rescue and resuscitation, putting in place and enforcing safe boating and ferry regulations and improving flood risk management are also some of the other measures that need attention.
During this awareness campaign, GOACAN will once again seek the intervention of the respective district collectors to undertake capacity-building programmes as well as to seek inputs from officials of the police department, the Water Resources Department and the Directorate of Fire and Emergency Services on measures required to prevent drowning.