The UN General Assembly resolution A/75/L.76 in April 2021 declared 25 July; World Drowning Prevention Day. This global advocacy event serves as an opportunity to highlight the tragic and profound impact of drowning in families and communities, and offers life-saving solutions to prevent it.
An estimated 235,600 people drown every year, with drowning among the ten leading causes of death amongst children aged 5-14 years. More than 90% of drowning deaths in low-and middle-income countries occur in rivers, lakes, wells, domestic water storage vessels and swimming pools , with children and adolescents in rural areas disproportionately affected.
The Western Cape Government, together with many water safety stakeholders in the province and particular the National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) and Lifesaving Western Cape, recognises the devastating effects of drowning within the province and through stakeholder consultation and participation across all spheres of government, developed the Western Cape Drowning Prevention and Water Safety Strategy in 2017.
The purpose of the strategy is to promote opportunities for all residents in the Province through the reduction, control or prevention of water related injuries and drowning determinants and consequences, and foster focused actions that facilitates:
The Department of Local Government has demonstrated its commitment to water safety by supporting the Lifesaving Western Cape and National Sea Rescue Institute with an annual grant for the last few years. In the last few years of financial support these institutes provided water safety training to various communities and procured additional boats used for drowning and water safety response as well as in the event of severe weather. Most recently, the NSRI assisted in evacuating communities in Cape Agulhas following significant rainfall.
The Department of Local Government (DLG) developed a Drowning Prevention and Water Safety Campaign. The first phase of the campaign was rolled-out across social media platforms and radio messages which aired on local radio stations. The next phase included beach activations that took place on 28 November 2020 at Muizenberg Beach. The event was supported by the NSRI, Lifesaving Western Cape, Lifesaving South Africa and other water safety agencies.
It is an absolute privilege and honour for the Department of Local Government to continue to partner with the NSRI and Lifesaving Western Cape to ensure that we respond proactively to water related incidences in the Western Cape Province. Both Lifesaving WC and National Sea Rescue Institute are non-profit organisations dealing with sea emergency/disaster rescue activities.
The Western Cape Disaster Management Centre supports the activities of Lifesaving Western Cape and National Sea Rescue Institute in commemoration of World Drowning Prevention Day.