Appreciating nature

Fred Wesley | Wednesday, January 10, 2018
The revelation that a 54-year-old man from Yadua, Sigatoka, is believed to have drowned will definitely raise some interest.

It should attract attention, especially as we start another new year.

He was out diving off Yadua waters on Monday afternoon when the incident is believed to have happened.

The victim had informed a fellow villager he was taking the lead back to shore but his body was found floating a few minutes later.

As a post-mortem examination is conducted to ascertain the cause of death, perhaps it is apt that we remind ourselves about water safety once again.

Ideally, every Fijian should be a capable swimmer, especially when one considers the fact we are surrounded by the Pacific Ocean.

We have many rivers, streams and creeks criss-crossing their way through our islands. One would think there are many reasons for parents and guardians to encourage children to learn to swim.

In an ideal world, we all would be very good swimmers. In fact we all would understand and appreciate water safety. In an ideal world, there would be no one drowning. There would probably be a lot more joy than sadness really.

Alas, we are not in an ideal world. As parents and guardians, we cannot afford to take anything for granted and we must be mindful of the whereabouts of those under our care.

At one stage Fiji was losing an average $6.9million a year through drowning.

Figures released during a stakeholder meeting of the Fiji Water Safety Council in Suva in April, 2012 revealed we suffered a loss of $89.5million from 1999 to 2011 through drowning.

Drowning statistics hit the highest in 2005 when 68 people died. It cost the economy $9,956,589.60.

Police estimated in 2012 that an average of 48.5 people drowned annually.

This, it said, would amount to about five people for every 100,000 with our population at about 900,000.

The World Health Organization once placed drowning figures at an estimated 372,000 annually. In its fact sheet that was reviewed in September last year, it listed drowning as the third leading cause of unintentional injury death worldwide, accounting for seven per cent of all injury-related deaths.

As in the case of road accidents, warnings will sound like musical records permanently on replay mode.

They are important though for our safety.

Perhaps we should be reminded about the importance of water safety and why we must make it our business.

We should be proactive. We should be vigilant and we should place value on appreciating the power of nature.

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