when children are
and it is crucial
not to let young
Saudi Gazette, Friday, June 23, 2017
All about getting fit
Saudi Gazette report
VERY year during
the Eid Al-Fitr holi-
days, we hear about
many sad incidents of
children drowning in
swimming pools and beaches in
different parts of the Kingdom.
Owners of private rest houses
with swimming pools take ad-
vantage of the holiday season to
rent them out at very high prices
mostly to families.
During the heat of the cel-
ebrations, parents tend to leave
their young children unattended
and some of these children stray
into the swimming areas, fall in
the pools and get drowned, turn-
ing the festival into a nightmare.
Despite the fact that many
children end up dead in these
swimming pools every year, no
special authorities investigate
these incidents, Al-Riyadh news-
Normally, the accidents are
written off as fate or destiny
and no serious investigations
take place. The authorities need
to check and ensure that these
private swimming pools actually
have all safety measures, includ-
ing rescue teams, in place, the
In order for the swimming
pools to be safe, the following
conditions are to be met: clean
water for swimming, a qualified
rescue team and safety apparatus
such as defibrillators.
The common cause for
children drowning, whether in
swimming pools or beaches, is
the absence of qualified rescue
teams. Even if some rescue
teams are present, they are often
not properly trained. Rescue
workers are supposed to carry a
license, which is renewed every
two years. They need to take part
in exercises on a weekly basis
in order to be fit and prepared to
carry out the job properly.
However, the authorities do
not enforce these safety require-
ments in all private swilling pools.
There are no laws and regu-
lations in the Kingdom that de-
fine the safety requirements in
swimming pools and no specific
official body is supposed to in-
form the owners of these require-
ments, including the number of
rescuers and trainers they need to
appoint in swimming pools that
are rented out to the public. This
leads to chaos and confusion
when an accident takes place.
According to some officials,
the Civil Defense and the Saudi
Commission for Tourism and
National Heritage (SCTH) are
both responsible for such inci-
dents as they are supposed to
check the safety measures at pri-
vate swimming pools.
“Some private swimming
pools are licensed and others are
not. A licensed swimming pool is
supposed to have all safety mea-
sures in place as it is operating
legally. As for unlicensed swim-
ming pools, it is a different situa-
tion because these pools are basi-
cally illegal. In case of any citi-
zen or resident facing some prob-
lems in any tourist facility, there
are emergency numbers that can
be contacted. These numbers are
operated by the SCTH and are
available 24 hours all days of the
week,” said Khalid Al-Fareeda,
director general of SCTH in Al-
Brig. Mansour Al-Dousari,
spokesman for the Eastern Prov-
ince Civil Defense, said there are
certain infrastructural require-
ments to ensure safety in swim-
“The steps of the pool should
reach the floor, every corner of
the pool should have handrails
and the lights should be suit-
able for a pool’s size,” said Al-
There should be clear signs
that separate shallow and deep
areas of the pool and any defects
that could be dangerous to the
swimmers should be immedi-
ately fixed, he added.
In addition to these, there are
other safety measures that need to
be followed. If they did not exist,
then the owner might face serious
consequences in the event of an
accident, said Al-Dousari.
He said these measures in-
clude limiting the number of
swimmers depending on the
pool’s size and quick accessibil-
ity to safety gadgets, including
life vests, oxygen cylinders and
first aid boxes.
The swimmers should not be
allowed to use the pool if it was
just cleaned with chlorine.
At least, one certified trainer
should be available at each
swimming pool. The trainer
and other nationals
turned up at the Indian Interna-
tional School in Jeddah Wednes-
day evening to commemorate the
third International Yoga Day.
Yoga enthusiasts of different
levels of skills, age and ethnic
backgrounds gathered at the
school auditorium and practiced
various exercises known as “the
asanas”. The Indian Consulate
General organized the event with
the collaboration of the Arab
Yoga Foundation and the General
Authority of Sports.
In spite of the Ramadan fast-
ing, more than 1,000 men and
women of various age groups
attended the event with fervor,
given its growing popularity
around the globe including the
Haifa Alsabbab, chief of staff
and managing director of Saudi
Saudi Arabia’s General Authority
of Sports, was the guest of honor.
She conveyed good wishes from
Princess Reema Bint Bandar,
vice president of the authority.
Alsabbab expressed her joy in
seeing the overwhelming re-
sponse and the huge participation
at the event by yoga enthusiasts
from Saudi Arabia.
Addressing the participants,
Indian Consul Ceneral Md. Noor
Rahman Sheikh urged the com-
munity to adopt yoga as a part of
life to maintain a healthy body
He said the practicing of yoga
could make a person feel relaxed
in today’s hectic life. It could also
prevent many illnesses, he added.
Sheikh revealed that he was
practicing various protocols of
yoga for the last 25 years and if
he missed one day, he felt very
“One can find peace of mind
and a perfect status of the body
by adopting yoga in life,” the
consul general said.
There are different yoga pro-
tocols suitable for different age
groups, Sheikh said, adding that
it is good for the humanity as a
whole because yoga is a holistic
way of living life that unites
body, mind and soul.
Sheikh hailed Prime Minister
Narendra Modi for giving the
utmost importance to yoga. In ad-
dition to stress-release, yoga has
also contributes for international
solidarity, he added.
Sheikh acknowledged the ser-
vices of yoga guru Nouf Al-Mar-
waai, a Saudi national, through the
Arab Yoga Foundation.
Messages of Prime Minister
Narendra Modi and Foreign Af-
fairs Minister Sushma Swaraj
were screened during the event.
Moin Akhtar, consul for com-
munity welfare, said one should
make yoga an integral part of life
to keep fit and healthy.
Al-Marwaai, the keynote
speaker of the event, revealed her
enthusiasm and admiration for
yoga. She told the audience that
when her joint pains and other
health issues became acute, she
had decided to travel to Australia
for treatment but someone sug-
gested to her to try yoga, for
which she visited Kerala in India.
She said this was visit was the
turning point in her life and she
was able to train many women in
Jeddah to practice yoga.
The Arab Yoga Foundation is
offering 200 to 500 hours of yoga
courses in the Kingdom, accord-
ing to Marwaai, who is the chair-
man of the foundation.
She said her institution re-
ceived overwhelming response
from across all sections of people
in Saudi Arabia.
The yoga trainer explained
how yoga could be helpful during
pregnancy and labor, as well as in
other health issues.
The consulate held a quiz
competition upon yoga where
Shahad Nasreen and Afshin Sid-
diqui bagged the first and second
In Riyadh, the Indian Em-
bassy organized a similar event
where Ambassador Ahmad Javed
along with senior diplomats par-
ticipated by practicing various
asanas and postures.
The United Nations pro-
claimed June 21 as International
Day of Yoga in 2014 after Indian
Prime Minister Modi, himself
a yogi, made an appeal. India’s
initiative had the support of 176
countries and yoga, which is an
ancient practice that originated in
India more than 5,000 years ago,
has now become a worldwide
Strict measures could stem child drownings during holidays
Despite the fact that many children end up dead
in these swimming pools every year, no special
authorities investigate these incidents. Normally,
the accidents are written off as fate or destiny
and no serious investigations take place.
should have experience in ad-
ministering first aid.
“Finally, the owners of the
swimming pool must provide a
high chair for the trainer so that
he or she can monitor all swim-
mers,” said Al-Dousari.
He advised parents to moni-
tor all children younger than 15
years while they go swimming.
Most importantly, no safety
measures will be complete with-
out the presence of qualified and
trained rescue teams.
Moreover, in most cases
private swimming pool owners
do not provide safety tools to
visitors and renters. The problem
gets worse especially in holiday
seasons when children go swim-
ming without their parents’ su-
The Saudi Civil Defense
advises all parents to watch their
children in swimming pools.
“Usually, drowning accidents
happen when children are left
unattended, and it is crucial
not to let young children swim
alone,” said the Civil Defense
Hundreds of enthusiasts gather to mark
International Day of Yoga in Jeddah
SG photos by Abdul Rahman M. Baig