According to the World Health Organization (WHO), drowning is the third leading cause of unintentional injury death worldwide and accounts for 7% of all injury deaths. In 2019, the annual number of deaths by drowning worldwide was estimated at 236,000 and yet those linked to floods or suicide, transport boats including those of migrants’ fortunes, were not taken into account. In Morocco, drownings do not only concern urban areas at beaches and swimming pools, others occur in other bodies of water such as wadis, lakes, ponds, dams and water reservoirs.
Many people, mainly young people and children, lose their lives there by drowning in rural areas and far from the coast. Also each year, as the summer season approaches, the Watershed Agencies organize awareness campaigns to fight against drowning in the reservoirs of dams and rivers. Under the motto ” Water is the source of your life, don’t make it your death “, the Hydraulic Basin Agency of Oum Er-Rbia (ABHOER) is organizing an awareness campaign on the dangers of swimming in dam reservoirs and in rivers for the year 2022.
This campaign aims to raise the awareness of the populations living near the reservoirs of the dams and of the citizens who go there to be entertained and distracted, to the potential risks of drowning. Indeed, during the summer season and the rise in temperatures, the attraction of swimming becomes pressing, especially among young people and children. Some of them engage in this activity in the reservoirs of dams and in watercourses.
In order to prevent and limit the dangers of bathing in such places, ABHOER has designed a communication campaign deploying mainly in information and awareness actions on the dangers of bathing in dam reservoirs and in rivers located in its area of intervention, throughout the summer season, with the aim of avoiding any case of drowning, particularly with regard to the juvenile population.
In the impossibility of carrying out increased surveillance at the level of all the rivers and the basins of the dams scattered over the vast expanse of the Agency’s area of action, the latter has done so in the installation of road signs, indicating the prohibition of bathing in all these areas, as well as in other places frequented by the population.
Through this campaign, ABHOER services, in coordination with local authorities, civil protection and civil society, seek to increase the level of awareness of the dangers of bathing and reduce the risk of drowning by relying on awareness, especially since the immensity of the dams located at the level of the Oum Er-Rbia basins and their opening to the agglomerations, in addition to the presence of unsecured points in their surroundings, present a danger for visitors, which which makes awareness an important factor in reducing the risk of drowning in its reservoirs.
In addition, the danger of these basins, which give the impression of being safe for swimming, lies in the fact that the reservoirs of the dams, even if they present, in appearance, all the qualities of a lake without danger, can reveal formidable traps: They indeed contain large quantities of mud which can attract swimmers to the bottom.
The danger of these basins also lies in the density and depth of water, which can sometimes exceed 100 meters, not to mention the fact that their banks are not developed and do not allow easy access to water. In addition to the awareness-raising activities that permeate this campaign, such as the distribution of awareness-raising materials (posters, flyers, banners, etc.), the latter also includes the dissemination of information and awareness-raising programs through local and national media and the adoption of digital communication through the dissemination of awareness spots in this regard on the Agency’s social networks.
But other agencies are trying to draw attention to the potential dangers of swimming in bodies of water and to raise awareness of these risks for local residents, by explaining to them that the reservoirs of dams, even if they present, in appearance, all the qualities of a harmless lake, can reveal formidable pitfalls. They contain, in fact, large quantities of mud which can attract swimmers to the bottom.
This is the case of the Bouregreg and Chaouia Hydraulic Basin Agency (ABHBC), which launched a broad awareness campaign in mid-June on the risks of drowning associated with swimming in the reservoirs of dams under its jurisdiction. action area.