Not a long ago, Srinagar and other parts of Kashmir recorded an unusual drop in mercury. In fact the incessant rains last month plunged mercury to lowest ever in the J&K’s summer capital and nearly brought about floods. Lately though, people in Kashmir valley have been grappling with unusual heat wave from the last few days. The mercury has already scorched to 34.2 degrees Celsius in Srinagar, the third highest temperature recorded during the month of June in almost 12 years. North Kashmir’s Kupwara town, surrounded by lush forests and big mountains, also recorded unusually high temperatures. The heat wave has actually pushed people, especially young and children, to look for cooling options. Easy option, more so in villages, is to dive into the water bodies. However, it has led to tragedies already. A number of children and youth have already drowned to death. The government and the people cannot let their guard down when it comes to safety at water bodies including those in backyards.
The higher temperatures will continue for at least a few more days, and it’s important that everyone follow simple water safety steps to help prevent a tragedy. People should be more cautious and keep a watch on children. In fact they should never leave them unattended in or near a water body.
While the drowning deaths are devastating, they are at the same time preventable. Of late the district administrations would even ban swimming and bathing. The authorities in the past banned swimming and bathing in water bodies. The administration had underlined that it was aimed to save lives.
The government has announced summer break and these days, more and more children are likely to be tempted to go to the water bodies. It is here that accidents may increase even more. Therefore, the authorities including teachers should put in every effort to stop children from the dangerous practices in their localities and also sensitise them of the consequences.
The concerned should work on strategies to prevent drowning deaths and in this regard resorts should be taken to educate people about the risk of drowning associated with hot weather and, in particular, also issue specific advisories. There is also a need for stricter checks especially by local Executive Magistrates, police , officers of allied departments and they shall ensure all measures to prevent deaths due to drowning.