Drowning: an increasing danger for visitors to Maldives
Tourism of course is the main engine of our country. Wih increased number of hotels, resorts and the ever increasing tourist arrivals, issues of concern arise. It is increasingly often that we see and hear news headlines about a mishap at sea for a tourist. In fact, it was on the news twice this month. In this regard, I also saw a discussion on Twitter between a prominent doctor and an MP on the matter. With the increasing incidents, I collected some basic figures for the past three years. During the last three years (2010 to 2 Dec 2012) a total of 48 tourists were brought dead to our hospital with a history of drowning. This is only for drowning and excludes near misses and other injuries at sea.
In 2010, 13 tourists were brought dead with 11 males and 2 females. In 2011, the number increased to 15 drowning deaths with 10 males and 5 females. In 2012, up to 2 December 2012, 20 deaths were brought with 16 males and 4 females. The graph below illustrates this information.
It is thus important that more emphasis is put on the safety of swimmers and divers. Awareness and specific programs in resorts need to strengthened. Also, advocacy on safety is required through the relevant authorities and the civil society.