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Drowning toll alarm

Dawn Gibson
Friday, January 24, 2014

DROWNING statistics have revealed that Fiji's drowning cases per 100,000 people is more than double Australia's and almost double New Zealand's.

This was revealed yesterday by education and planning development officer for the Water Safety Council of Fiji, Bronwyn Soko, who said at present the council was working towards reducing these figures.

Mrs Soko said the figures stood at 4.8/100,000 for Fiji, 1.8/100,000 for Australia and 2.6/100,000 for New Zealand and that the council hoped to get their strategic plan to target different problem areas.

"In terms of the Water Safety Council, we have identified the most vulnerable areas to be males, river environment and unsupervised activity," Mrs Soko said yesterday.

"The council has different stakeholders that have different strengths so the plan enables each to have a focus and identifies the areas of need."

She explained that an important aspect to highlight was that educating people at a young age played a very important role in reducing fatality chances as adults.

"We know from work already undertaken in Australia that the more water safety information that is learnt when young, it helps reduce drowning fatalities in teen years.

"The more focus given in teen years helps reduce drowning fatalities in later life."

She said the council's strategic plan identified such areas as life stages and discussed the importance for all ages to learn water safety messages and be involved in lifesaving activities.

"Resources are limited here, however working as one voice to reduce drowning is far stronger than two individual stakeholders."

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