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Children top priority

Siteri Sauvakacolo
Monday, February 23, 2015

ACCORDING to the Water Safety Council of Fiji, the major cause of death during floods is people entering floodwaters.

This includes driving vehicles, river crossing, walking and children playing in floodwaters.

WSCF director, John Philp says in Fiji, we already know that unsupervised children around any water at any time imposes a risk and this is where parental responsibility comes in particularly with toddlers who are among our key drowning victims.

"Floodwater is often deeper and faster flowing than it appears, full of hidden debris." Mr Philp said.

"Large volumes of fast flowing water can come and go very quickly, sucking in or trapping in anyone who gets close to drains and pipes.

"These places are dangerous to play in when flooding.

"They can be slippery, have strong pulling power and can be very hard to get out of."

Those travelling by boat have also been reminded to be mindful of the weather forecast especially during rainy weather conditions and to avoid travelling when heavy rain and strong wind warnings are in place.

As stipulated by Fiji Police Force "children are the responsibility of their parents".

"Do you think it is an easy task for the police to criminally charge a parent for negligence after they lost a child?

"Know the whereabouts of all your older children. Your children are your responsibility," Mr Philp said.

"Therefore, young children should be supervised and not be allowed to use such volatile weather conditions as a playground for fun and enjoyment.

"Teenage boys and men who enjoy playing around the rivers, did you know that you are a key drowning statistic?

"The water may look safe, but underneath is moving debris and strong currents that will wash you away…with friends or not, they will not be able to save you."

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