Stretching from around May to October yearly, we experience the Pacific Typhoon Season, which means we get a lot of storms and rains all over the country. This is also amplified by the monsoon rains that often follow the typhoon clouds that pass by. Heavy rainfall can cause floods and turbulent waves which puts anyone more at risk of drowning.
According to data from the World Health Organization, drowning accounts for 7% of all injury-related deaths worldwide making it the 3rd top cause of unintentional injury death. In the Philippines, the data shows that it causes the death of an average of about 3000 lives annually.
What is drowning?
Drowning is suffocation due to the presence of excess liquid (not just water!) in the body and being unable to breathe. The brain also needs oxygen and may incur damages if it is deprived of oxygen for six minutes or more.
Can we prevent drowning?
As much as we can, yes.
Most drowning situations happen because the victim doesn’t know how to swim so the best way to prevent drowning is to ensure that swimming is part of school programs and things we teach the children in our immediate communities. In the same way that we treat fire and earthquake drills, we need to develop drills to be able to hone the survival skills of everyone. These drills should include critical thinking skills to train into a habit of quickly noticing what the safest and best moves would be given the situation.
Barriers can significantly minimize the danger of drowning. Setting and enforcing safe boating, shipping, and ferry rules is a critical component of enhancing water safety and reducing drowning. Flooding may be avoided by improving flood resilience and controlling flood hazards through better disaster preparedness planning, land use planning, and early warning systems.
Especially if you live in an area that’s easily flooded, or is close to water, it’s better to leave than risk it. This means needing to be up to date with news and announcements. You need to have escape bags ready to go in case the notice to evacuate comes in. Identify safe houses or people you can reach out to in the event of risk of flood in your area. Also, remember the emergency number of your local government unit so they can also send aid when needed. Planning these things can be a lot of work. But it’s always better safe than sorry.