At least 20,000 people drown in Europe each year: WHO official


UNITED NATIONS: The World Health Orga­nization (WHO), a Gene­va-based UN agency, has said that 20,000 drowning deaths every year in the Eu­ropean region are “entirely preventable”.

Most recent­ly, the catastrophic loss of hundreds of lives, includ­ing Pakistanis, in the cap­sizing of a fishing vessel off the Greek coast has brought this into sharp focus, it was pointed out.

“In that one single catastrophe, more than 600 people huddled in desperation and drowned together; most bodies will never be recovered,” Dr. Hans Henri P. Kluge, WHO’s regional European director, said in a statement issued in Copenhagen on Monday.

“Most of us rarely, if ever, think about drowning as a public health hazard with significant impact,” he said. According to the WHO, the majority of victims tragi­cally drown alone in varied circumstances, from unsu­pervised pools to deadly rip currents.__The Nation