Australian ambassador makes a splash on World Drowning Prevention Day in Phuket

Picture courtesy of rnz.co.nz.

The Australian Ambassador to Thailand was in Phuket yesterday to observe the World Drowning Prevention Day.

Dr Angela Macdonald watched from the sidelines as yesterday’s ceremony was conducted to draw attention to the importance of safety measures in averting drownings, and to remember the dramatic yet deep-seated effects these incidents have on individuals and neighbourhoods.

Phuket’s Vice Governor, Danai Sunantarod, initiated the occasion, which took place at the Holiday Inn Resort Phuket in Patong. In attendance were Matthew Barclay, the Australian Consul-General in Phuket, Bjorn Courage, President of the Phuket Hotels Association, with representatives from various government organisations, and the Royal Thai Navy Third Area Command. Vice Governor Danai said…

“There is a resurgence of tourism in Thailand, and correspondingly, the likelihood of drowning incidents involving tourists is also on the rise.”

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Vice Governor Danai stressed that Phuket, with its enchanting seas, continues to appeal to both domestic and international tourists, thereby attracting more visitors than the previous year. However, due to the unpredictable risks that could potentially arise from the sea, especially during the monsoon season on the Andaman coast, there are concerns for tourists’ safety at popular beach spots.

Tragic instances of tourists being lured off rocks or carried out to sea by robust currents are still fresh in the minds of authorities, underscoring the fact that this concern necessitates grave attention.

Drawing attention to the unsettling global statistics issued by the World Health Organisation, Mr Danai mentioned that there is an alarming average of 360,000 drowning death cases per year worldwide. Alarmingly, 146,739 of these victims are children under the age of 15. The vice governor added…

“In the last decade, Thailand has seen 36,915 people losing their lives to drowning, of which 20.5% (7,374) were children under 15 years old.”

In a bid to mitigate this tragic trend, the national government’s 20-year strategy plan aims to cut down the rate of children’s drowning deaths in Thailand to “2.5 per child population” by 2027. The government is focused on a 50% reduction by 2037, despite the absence of concrete data on Thailand’s current child population.

Phuket Vice Governor Danai emphasised the need for both public and private sectors to come together to address the problem.

“It’s crucial that government and private sectors work together earnestly to raise awareness of the issue and help prevent water accidents. Phuket has prioritised water safety because drowning can be arrested and avoided through education, care, preventive training, and awareness of self-care.”

Phuket News

Mitch Connor

Mitch is a Bangkok resident, having relocated from Southern California, via Florida in 2022. He studied journalism before dropping out of college to teach English in South America. After returning to the US, he spent 4 years working for various online publishers before moving to Thailand.

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