Shariatpur, Apr 17 (UNB)-Two minor cousins drowned in a pond at Barish Rashi village of Shariatpur Sadar upazila on Wednesday.
The deceased was identified as Tamjid, 6, son of Bashar Bepari and his cousin brother Tahsin, 5, son of Karim Bepari of the village.
Locals said Tahsin and Tamjid fell into the pond while playing on its bank near their house and drowned around noon – the very same pattern that is found behind the deaths of thousands of other minors in Bangladesh every year.
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.
Unicef quotes a survey by the Centre for Injury Prevention and Research, Bangladesh (CIPRB) that says over 18,000 Bangladeshis aged 1-18 die of drowning each year – more than 50 each day.
Most of the deaths occur among unsupervised children between one and five years old in ponds that are very close to their homes. Seventy-five percent of drownings were found to happen within 65 feet of home. Sixty 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.
The pattern is present in the deaths of Tamjid and Tahsin too, whose bodies were eventually recovered by neighbours and taken to Shariatpur Sadar hospital where duty doctors declared them dead.
But their deaths hardly capture the nation’s attention as say road accidents or some diseases do, leading some experts to call it ‘a silent killer’.