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Usually, drowning

accidents happen

when children are

left unattended,

and it is crucial

not to let young

children swim

alone.

Brig. Mansour

Al-Dousari

Civil Defense

spokesman

2

Saudi Gazette, Friday, June 23, 2017

Kingdom

Safe

swimming

All about getting fit

Saudi Gazette report

E

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-

paper reports.

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

paper said.

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-

Ahsa governorate.

Brig. Mansour Al-Dousari,

spokesman for the Eastern Prov-

ince Civil Defense, said there are

certain infrastructural require-

ments to ensure safety in swim-

ming pools.

“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-

Dousari.

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

By IrfanMohammed

Saudi Gazette

H

UNDREDS of

health-conscious

people including

Saudis, Indians

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

Gulf countries.

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

and soul.

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

uncomfortable and

“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

prizes respectively.

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

phenomenon.

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.

s

s

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-

pervision.

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

spokesman.

Hundreds of enthusiasts gather to mark

International Day of Yoga in Jeddah

SG photos by Abdul Rahman M. Baig