HomeLatest NewsAt least 20,000 people drown in Europe each year: WHO

At least 20,000 people drown in Europe each year: WHO

UNITED NATIONS: The World Health Organization (WHO), a Geneva-based UN agency, has said that 20,000 drowning deaths every year in the European region are “entirely preventable”.

Most recently, the catastrophic loss of hundreds of lives, including Pakistanis, in the capsizing of a fishing vessel off the Greek coast has brought this into sharp focus, it was pointed out.

“In that one single catastrophe, more than 600 people huddled in desperation and drowned together; most bodies will never be recovered,” Dr. Hans Henri P. Kluge, WHO’s regional European director, said in a statement issued in Copenhagen.

“Most of us rarely, if ever, think about drowning as a public health hazard with significant impact,” he said.

According to the WHO, the majority of victims tragically drown alone in varied circumstances, from unsupervised pools to deadly rip currents.

Europe is home to the world’s heaviest alcohol drinkers per capita, and this also adds to the crisis. “Alcohol is causally associated with 26 percent of all drowning deaths in the European region,” Kluge said.

The migration crisis further aggravates the issue. “According to the International Organization for Migration, about 34,000 people have drowned in the course of migration since 2014,” Kluge said, underscoring the urgency to act.

“This represents 60 percent of all migration-associated deaths recorded, and of these, almost four out of five –have occurred in the Mediterranean and the English Channel, both within the WHO European Region,” the director said.

Globally, at least 236,000 people lose their lives from drowning each year, according to the WHO.

“This, however, accounts only for unintentional drownings. The true toll, excluding deaths from other related causes, is underestimated by 30 to 50 percent,” Kluge said.

As the World Drowning Prevention Day on July 25 approaches, Kluge called for urgent action to address the problem.

“We should ensure that our collective focus on drowning will no longer be based on the latest mass casualty disaster… but on how the loss of each and every life to drowning could have been prevented in the first place,” he said. APP

Please visit our website London Institute of Peace Research for latest peace news

Rate This Article:
No comments

leave a comment

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.