A private car collided with a divider near Ambagan in Hatirjheel of the capital. A woman was taken out of the car and taken to Dhaka Medical College Hospital. There the doctors pronounced him dead.
The woman’s name is Jhilik Alam (23). Her husband’s name is Sadiq Alam. Sadiq himself was driving the car. Hatirjheel police sub-inspector (SI) Saddam Hossain told Prothom Alo that Sadiq Alam told them that his wife was injured when the car hit a divider. Later, the police brought the woman to the hospital from there.
Husband Sadiq Alam was not injured in the collision. She is OK.
Sadiq Alam said his wife was ill. He left home to take his wife to the hospital.
Habib (3) and Sania (2) are two neighbors of Postkamari village in Nagarpur upazila of Tangail. While playing together, the two fell into the sinking water next to the house. Later, Shafiqul Miah’s son Habib and Wahab Ali’s daughter Sania were rescued from the drowning water. This is what happened on October 13 last year.
Suraiya, the six-year-old daughter of Belal Ahmed, drowned in a pond at Paschim Pathangarh village in Chagalnaiya upazila of Feni on November 9 next month.
Such incidents of drowning of children are common. Some families have lost more than one child. On August 20, Ami, 15, daughter of Mohammad Russell and Tamim, 8, of Abdul Sikderdangi village in Charbhadrasan upazila of Faridpur, drowned while visiting her grandfather’s house.
This information has been found in the reports published in Prothom Alo at different times. According to a recent report of the non-governmental organization of media and communication, ‘Samashti’, 98 people have drowned in the last 15 months across the country. The number of children is 606. Of the total deaths, 117 died in naval accidents.
The global health advocacy incubator has analyzed the news published in the national and local media from January 1 last year to March 31 this year.
The biggest death in a boat accident happened on June 29 last year. A launch named ML Morning Bird sank in the river Buriganga after being pushed by another big launch named Mayur-2. It killed 32 people. On 5 August, 18 people died when a boat sank in Haor in Netrokona’s Madan upazila.
People have commented that such a large number of child deaths are due to lack of surveillance and awareness, not knowing how to swim and taking immediate action after drowning.
Infant mortality is high due to lack of surveillance
According to the report, from January 1 last year to March 31 this year, 73 percent of those who drowned were children. 348 people aged four or under, 308 people aged 5 to 9, 120 people aged 9 to 14 and 32 people aged 15 to 16 died. 160 people over 18 years of age. Out of the total deaths, 63 children died due to family negligence or lack of supervision of children. Those children get into an accident when they go into a pond or other water body adjacent to the house without the knowledge of the adults.
According to the report, 55 people have drowned in the last 15 months due to floods, 6 from epilepsy and rabies, 3 from jumping or playing in the river, 1 from trying to save others and 2 from drowning in water tanks.
Mir Masroor Zaman, director of the group, told Prothom Alo that both parents are busy at one time of the day. At that time the children are unaccompanied or unnoticed. Sometimes some older siblings have the responsibility of taking care of those children. Again, there are more water bodies in the village. As a result, those children are at risk of falling into the water. He said it was important to set up child daycare centers and institutional swimming training in the villages to prevent drowning deaths.
According to the group’s report, 60 families have lost more than one relative. In the last 15 months, 184 members of 60 families have drowned.
According to the World Health Organization’s 2014 global report, 43 percent of under-five deaths in Bangladesh are due to drowning. A report titled ‘Global Burden of Disease Study’ published in 2016 by the US Institute of Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) states that 14,029 people drowned in Bangladesh in 2016. According to the report, Bangladesh ranks fifth among the Commonwealth countries in terms of drowning deaths.
Deaths vary by region and time
According to the group’s report, the highest number of drowning deaths in the last 15 months was in Dhaka division (211 people). Besides, 164 people died in Chittagong, 143 in Rangpur, 121 in Rajshahi, 106 in Mymensingh, 63 in Barisal and 72 in Khulna division. The lowest death toll at the time was in the Sylhet division, at 47. The highest death toll was 394 in the morning and 36 in the afternoon. The rest died at other times.
The International Drowning Research Center (IDRC) operates 2,000 daycare centers in 10 upazilas of Bangladesh and has trained 8 lakh children in 20 upazilas to swim in a special way from 2008 to 2019. According to the organization, the highest number of drowning deaths (80 percent) occurred between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. 80 percent of deaths are in ponds and ditches. Besides, the death toll in Barisal division is three times more than the national average. Across the country, 12 lakh people drowned. In Barisal, 39 lakh people drowned.
Director of IDRC Bangladesh Aminur Rahman did his PhD in Sweden on drowning. Highlighting his work experience in the country, he said it was possible to reduce the number of deaths through preventive measures. There is a pond within 40 steps of the house in the village. By keeping day care for the children of the village from 9 am to 1 pm, a huge number of deaths can be prevented. Swimming training can prevent 98 percent of deaths. He added that most people do not know about the first aid for drowning. Since drowning causes respiratory problems, the drowned child or person should breathe face to face and apply pressure along the heart. He thinks it is possible to teach even a seven-year-old child in just two days of training.