Jashore, Aug 21 (UNB) - A pair of cousins fell victim to the all-too familiar yet ‘silent killer’ of children in the country, as they drowned in a pond near their home in the village of Narikelbaria, in Bagharpara upazila of Jashore on Wednesday.
The deceased were identified as Saad, 3, son of Jamal Uddin and his cousin Alamin, 4, son of Syed Ali of the village.
Family members said that the children were playing beside their family pond. Around 1:30 pm - that window around noon when most drownings have been known to occur - the families became aware that the children were missing.
A frantic search ensued, and eventually locals spotted their lifeless bodies floating on the surface of the pond. In desperation, the bodies were rushed to the Bagharpara Upazila Health Complex after being recovered, but of course it was to no avail.
Doctor merely completed the formality of declaring them dead. OC Jasim Uddin of Bagharpara Police Station also confirmed the matter.
A 2017 study published in esteemed medical journal The Lancet said drowning accounts for an astonishing 43 percent of all deaths in the 1-4 age group in Bangladesh.
A report released earlier this year by Bloomberg Philanthropies, in partnership with Johns Hopkins International Injury Research Unit, the Centre for Injury Prevention and Research (CIPRB), and the International Centre for Diarrheal Disease Research, Bangladesh (icddr,b) revealed drowning to be the leading cause of death for children under five in Bangladesh, outstripping diseases to claim the lives of more than 30 children daily, or approximately 10,000 annually.
A survey by the CIPRB identified that most of the deaths occur among unsupervised children between one and five years old in ponds that are very close to their homes.
75 percent of drownings were found to occur within 65 feet of home. 60 percent of the victims drown between 9am and 1pm, when older siblings are at school and mothers are preparing food, gathering wood and water, or tending to crops.
Despite all this, the dangers of drowning hardly capture the nation’s attention in the same way as say, road accidents or some diseases, leading some experts to call it ‘a silent killer’.