Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Helpcode seeks to stop drownings

Helpcode seeks to stop drownings

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Children playing in the Mekong River on May 30. POST STAFF

Helpcode seeks to stop drownings

Helpcode Cambodia is planning a July 24-26 leaflet campaign on water safety, the basics of swimming and how to prevent drowning to visitors to the coastal areas of Preah Sihanouk and Kampot provinces.

Chey Ratana, technical director of the international NGO, told The Post on July 20 that the World Health Organisation (WHO) has set July 25 as World Drowning Prevention Day, and Helpcode Cambodia is marking the date with this campaign. For 2022, the day will be observed with the theme “Do one thing to prevent drowning” to encourage all communities globally to pay more attention to preventing drowning.

Ratana said the number of people drowning is increasing year on year, adding that the leaflets are specifically aimed at tourists who may have no experience swimming in the ocean.

“Anyone can drown, but few people think it could happen to them. This is why hundreds of thousands of people die every year,” he said.

Drowning is one of the leading causes of death worldwide for people aged 1-24. Every year, about 236,000 people drown, according to data published by the WHO this week.

It showed that more than 90 per cent of drowning occurred in low and middle income countries, with children under the age of 5 at the highest risk.

In Cambodia last year, drowning rose to 1,113, representing 1.24 per cent of all deaths in the country. This figure places Cambodia 12th in the world, according to the WHO.

“These deaths are often associated with daily activities such as bathing, fetching water, boating and fishing. The effects of seasonal weather events, including monsoons, are also frequent causes of drowning,” said the report.

However, it noted that most of these deaths were preventable, through better assessments of conditions and the installation of water access barriers. Other solutions include providing a safe place away from deep water for preschool children to receive swimming lessons, and safe rescue techniques.

Identifying and enforcing safe boating solutions, stricter regulation of commercial ferries and improved flood risk management were also recommended.

Helpcode Cambodia has been implementing water safety and drowning prevention programmes since 2018, and is cooperating with the Preah Sihanouk provincial Department of Education, Youth and Sport to run its programmes there.

Ratana said that by the end of this year, the organisation will have provided water safety and first aid training to 3,000 children in various communities in Preah Sihanouk and Kampot.

“Our organisation is continuing its mission to prevent drowning and to keep Cambodian children and their families safe and happy in and around the water,” he said.

In three consecutive days, July 18-20, six people drowned in Cambodia, including two in Siem Reap province and one each in Preah Sihanouk, Kampong Thom, Kampong Chhnang and Battambang. In June, six children drowned in ponds and streams.

Regarding the drowning, Soth Kimkolmony, spokesman for the National Committee for Disaster Management, called on people living in the lowlands along rivers, lakes, canals and the ocean to increase their vigilance. Families should be especially watchful of children, the elderly and pregnant women and make sure they stay away from water.

At the same time, he urged all public servants, especially the armed forces, to be ready to rescue people affected by flooding.

He noted that the committee does not record all drowning deaths.

“Generally, we collect data on drowning deaths only during floods. We do not record other drownings as they are deemed accidents, and not linked to natural disasters,” he said.

Flooding in 2021 caused the deaths of 14 people, he noted.

MOST VIEWED

  • Second Hungary business forum set for H2

    Cambodia has asked Hungary to provide GSP- (Generalised System of Preferences) Plus facilities for when the Kingdom sheds its least-developed country (LDC) label, as the two countries prepare to hold a second business forum in the second half (H2) of this year to expand trade

  • Thai boxers to join SEA Games’ Kun Khmer event

    The Cambodian SEA Games Organising Committee (CAMSOC) – together with the Kun Khmer International Federation (KKIF) and Khmer Boxing Federation – have achieved a “great success” by including Kun Khmer in the upcoming biennial multi-sports event on its home soil for the first time, said a senior

  • Bullets to bracelets: Siem Reap man makes waste from war wearable

    Jewellery is often made from valuable gemstones like emeralds or diamonds and precious metals like gold or silver, or valueless things like animal horns. But a man in Siem Reap has approached the manufacture of delicate pieces from a different angle. His unique form of

  • Nearly 50 states join Kun Khmer Federation, all set for training

    In a little over a week, the Kun Khmer International Federation (KKIF) has accepted membership requests from 20 new nations, in addition to the exiting 29. The sudden influx of international recognition stems from the Kingdom’s successful introduction of Kun Khmer to the 32nd Souheast Asian (

  • 61% of 2022 imports came from just 3 markets

    The three largest exporters to Cambodia – mainland China, Vietnam and Thailand – accounted for 60.94 per cent of the Kingdom’s total merchandise imports last year, at $18.245 billion, which was up 11.99 per cent over 2021, according to the General Department of Customs and Excise. Cambodia’s total imports

  • CPP sets out five primary strategic goals for 2023-28

    The Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) on January 29 concluded its two-day extraordinary congress, setting the party’s priority goals for 2023-2028. The ruling party’s congress was attended by more than 3,000 members from across the Kingdom, including the members of the permanent and central committees,