Fri, Jun 24, 2011 - Page 2 News List

Lawmakers highlight water safety

Staff Writer, with CNA

Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) legislative caucus members hold a press conference yesterday calling attention to the high number of child drownings this year. They asked the Ministry of the Interior to coordinate with other government agencies to address the issue.

Photo: Liao Chen-huei, Taipei Times

A group of Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) lawmakers yesterday urged authorities to pay attention to student safety in and around water in the wake of an increase in drownings among schoolchildren.

Citing statistics from the Ministry of Education, KMT Legislator Chao Li-yun (趙麗雲) said that 22 students have drowned so far this year, 13 of whom were of primary-school age.

That marks a sharp rise from the 12 recorded during the same period last year, Chao said, adding the Ministry of the Interior should coordinate with other government agencies to integrate existing lifesaving resources.

The Sports Affairs Council should set up more lifesaving stations around the country, she said, adding that the council should also teach -students lifesaving skills instead of focusing on posture and speed.

KMT Legislator Pan Wei-kang (潘維剛), who also serves as president of the Chinese Taipei Water Life Saving Association, said students should be taught how to remain calm, use rescue equipment and shout for help in the event of a life-threatening situation.

Chen Wen-lung (陳文龍), deputy director-general of the National Fire Agency, promised that his agency will step up its education and publicity campaign.

Wang Chun-chuan (王俊權), head of the education ministry’s Department of Physical Education, said most drowning incidents involving students occur during group outings. In many cases, the victims fell into the water by accident.

Thirty-six percent of drownings among students happen in rivers and 27.8 percent take place in the sea, much higher than the 4.8 percent in swimming pools, he said.

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