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Drowning deaths rise in Arakan State
“Some people drown because they have to go by boat from one place to another due to poor road transportation,”
18 Aug 2023
18 August 2023, Sittwe
At least 66 people drowned in Arakan State due to various reasons in the nearly two months from July to August 17 this year, according to figures compiled by DMG.
Among the people drowned in Arakan State are 45 from Sittwe, two each from Rathedaung, Ponnagyun, Pauktaw and Kyaukphyu, and one each from Kyauktaw and Ann. Forty-five people drowned after a boat carrying 55 Muslims from Buthidaung, Rathedaung and Maungdaw townships capsized off the coast of Sittwe Township on August 7.
The number of drowning deaths has increased in Arakan State for various reasons, including natural disasters, difficulties in transportation, negligence and drowning while fishing for food.
At least six children under the age of 10 were among the drowning victims, most of whom drowned while swimming in creeks and lakes.
Two 7-year-old twin siblings from Laykhwasone Village, Rathedaung Township, drowned after swimming in a creek near their home on August 13.
“Two children were at home when their parents went to a creek to catch crabs. When they [their parents] arrived back home, they didn’t find their children. The two children drowned in a creek near their home,” said Ko Thein Shwe Maung, a local man from Laykhwasone Village.
Parents need to take care and supervise their children not to play near lakes, rivers and creeks, and not to swim in waters unsupervised. However, those struggling to make ends meet are often unable to spend time watching their children 24/7.
“When parents who are struggling to earn a living cannot take care of their children or look after them, the children swim down the stream and die. Children die due to natural disasters and floods,” said Ma Khin Hnin Phyu, information officer of Yinchaung Youths Association in Minbya Township.
Two 60-year-old women, travelling from Natkanpyin Village in Minbya Township to Myebon to see their children, were swept away by unforgiving waters after their boat capsized on July 25.
A 36-year-old man from Kalarmataung Village drowned while fishing on August 9.
“Some people drown because they have to go by boat from one place to another due to poor road transportation,” said U Hla Maung Thein, chairman of Minbya Funeral Services.
There are also indications that the authorities and social organisations need to raise awareness due to the frequent occurrence of drowning deaths.
Locals in Arakan State often rely on waterways to travel from one place to another because of the abundance of rivers and creeks.