Chief of Defence Staff Admiral Ravindra Wijegunaratne has been appointed by President Maithripala Sirisena, to implement a National Plan to reduce the number of deaths caused by drowning, which has come to an alarming rate.
The office of the CDS said that there have been 760 and 678 deaths reported in 2016 and 2017 respectively while 412 deaths reported by mid-2018 due to drowning.
Most number of deaths have been reported from Colombo and Galle districts for the last two years mainly by drowning at sea.
A national plan was formulated and training of more life savers from the Tri Forces, Coast Guard, Police and Civil Defence Force has already been started islandwide, as part of its implementation.
The national plan aims at achieving several key objectives such as creating public awareness, formulating a risk profile for beaches and water ways in Sri Lanka, training and forming of life saving teams Islandwide, investigation and assessment on drowning and water safety, contribution to tourism development through safe water related activities, formulating of water safety rules and regulations, collection, compilation and preserving of data for analysis and evaluation, establishment of a print and electronic media unit on water safety.
As per the national plan, a National Operational Committee will be established covering all nine provinces and twenty five (25) districts in the country with relevant human resource and infrastructure development in achieving the above objectives.
The seventy one (71) years old Sri Lanka Life Saving Association, Life Saving Victoria Australia, International Life Saving Federation and Royal Life Saving Society UK (Common Wealth) provide the technical support and other assistance towards implementation of this national plan.(Darshana Sanjeewa)