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Drowning link to cyclone season

Siteri Sauvakacolo
Saturday, March 14, 2015

MORE than 70 per cent of Fiji's drowning cases last year occurred within the cyclone months — November to April.

This was highlighted in the 2014 Water Safety Council of Fiji Annual Drowning Report launched at the Prime Minister's Office in Suva yesterday.

Of this 77 per cent, 66 per cent of the victims were found in either village or rural settings, while 30 per cent occurred in the school holiday period.

And of those aged five to 19 years, the report said 80 per cent drowned in rivers with more 19-year olds drowning than any other age.

According to the report, Fiji lost 47 lives to drowning last year with children aged one to five years accounting to 23 per cent and males 72 per cent.

Eight victims of last year's drowning had cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) administered while six victims were people with epilepsy.

Water Safety Council of Fiji director Litiana Loabuka said the report was successful with the assistance of the Fiji Police Force and the Fiji Meteorological Service which both provided data.

"The data gathered has enabled us for the first time to see that there is a collaboration between the cyclone season and the drowning rate," Mrs Loabuka said.

"This is something we need to work on and we will work with the Fiji Police Force to ensure the issue is addressed around the country, especially in the rural settings where most drowning occurred.

"It's a very intensive report completed after months of research and we are glad that we have released the report and it is important to let every Fijian know that we all have a role to play to tackle the growing issue of drowning."

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