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Israel marks World Drowning Prevention day after devastating day at seas

CM 26/07/2021

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Israel marked World Drowning Prevention Day hours after the nation experienced the deadliest day of drowning cases since the beginning of this year’s swim season.

Sunday saw an overwhelming number of drowning incidents all across Israel’s coast, as well as in public and private pools.
On Monday night, a 30 year old surfer died at sea in an undeclared beach in Herzliya, according to a Ynet report, bringing the total of deaths by drowning up to 23 since the beginning of the swim season in March, 8 of which occurred in the past 72 hours alone. Of the 23 casualties, 13 died in undeclared beaches. 
World Drowning Prevention day is marked internationally and was declared by the UN in a General Assembly Resolution in April of this year. In 2019, an estimated 236,000 people died from drowning, according to the UN website, prompting the General Assembly to actively raise awareness to “the third leading cause of unintentional injury death”. 
The Israel Life Saving Federation, a non profit organization intent on saving lives through prevention as well as rescue, joined forces with the Australian Embassy to honor the UN declared day in the coastal city of Herzliya.

The public was invited to the beach to join in a workshop demonstrating safe behavior and providing tools for enjoying the water and surviving dangerous situations. The program targets children from the age of 7, believing in promoting water safety awareness from an early age. 

The federation, established by immigrants from Australia, aims to educate swimmers, especially children and youth, on water safety, basing their program on the Australian surf lifesaving rescue model. 
The Herzliya municipality supported the cause and lit the Marina edifice in blue, as a universal symbol for the World Drowning Prevention Day.
“For the first time, the UN recognizes drownings as a global emergency,” said Paul Hakim, President of the Israel Lifesaving Federation, in a statement. “The situation in Israel today is very serious. The solution has been around for over 50 years in Australia and has been proven to be a lifesaver.”
Australian Ambassador to Israel Paul Griffiths added, “Australia is proud to have in Israel one of its greatest exports – surf lifesaving!”
“Our vision is to bring Australian water safety culture to Israel, while building communities and promoting social values,” concluded Hakim.

Source: Jerusalem Post

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