Odisha govt registers 1292 deaths due to drowning in 3 years


Bhubaneswar: The Odisha government has registered 1292 deaths due to drowning in three years, with an average of almost 431 deaths per annum, informed Special Relief Commissioner office and Disaster Management Secretary, B P Sethi on Tuesday.

This is an average of three years between 2015-16 and 2017-18.

While 246 cases of drowning were reported in 2015-16, it went up to 428 in 2016-17 and 618 in 2017-18. This, however, did not include drowning deaths during floods as such cases were reported as flood related deaths, he said.

Balasore district recorded the highest 129 cases of drowning during the three years, followed by 118 cases in Bhadrak and 103 in Jajpur.

Most of the drowning deaths occurred during the months of July to November, the official said adding that out of 1292 cases during last three years, 783 deaths, which is about 61 percent, have occurred during these five months.

The highest number of deaths due to drowning were reported in September which is 197, followed by 192 in August and 150 in October.

While most of the drowning cases are linked to monsoon, many died while taking bath in the sea at the three major beaches at Puri, Konark and Gopalpur, the official said.

The beaches between Puri and Konark have been experiencing high tide since the tsunami hit the South East Coast of India in 2004. High tides had also become a regular feature in Gopalpur.

“The state government has included drowning deaths in the list of State Specific Disaster in order to provide financial assistance of Rs 4 lakh each to the victims’ families.Odisha has announced eight natural calamities as State Specific Disasters. They are drowning, lightning, whirlwind, tornado, heavy rain, sunstroke, boat accident, and snakebite,” Sethi added.