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Anhui city adopts tech to prevent drownings

By ZHU LIXIN in Hefei | China Daily | Updated: 2023-05-04 09:19
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A township in the city of Chuzhou in Anhui province has installed a high-tech solution around its lakes, rivers and reservoirs to ensure public safety and prevent people from drowning.

Surveillance cameras equipped with loudspeakers and connected to a multifunctional intelligent system emit automated warnings whenever people are detected as being too close to the water.

"As well as warning the public, the system also sends alarms to related workers for necessary responses," said Chu Haijun, Party chief of Zhangguang township in Chuzhou's Nanqiao district.

The equipment was installed around the township's seven reservoirs in 2020, and since then there have been no drowning accidents, said Chu, adding that the equipment cost about 40,000 yuan ($5,700).

Each year about 57,000 people drown in China, and 56 percent of the victims are juveniles, Xinhua News Agency reported last year, citing data from the country's health and public security authorities.

With the approach of the rainy season, the province's education and security authorities have urged local governments to take stronger measures to prevent students from drowning, according to a notification by the Anhui school production safety leading group on April 14.

The leading group, founded by the provincial government's education department, specified 10 measures including installation of warning signs and rescue equipment before the end of April.

Other measures include promoting school swimming courses.

As many primary and secondary school students have limited swimming skills, the most pragmatic and effective way to prevent drowning is to keep a very close eye on water bodies and people, especially during the periods of noon, after school, the weekend, holidays and summer vacation, said the notification.

Drowning is a major cause of death among primary and secondary school students, with an average of 88 children drowning every day, according to the report.

"This year's drowning prevention work in Nanqiao started in March, earlier than the province's unified arrangement," said Wu Naifu, the district government education official responsible for school safety.

Party chief Chu said the adoption of surveillance cameras has proved effective and the township will probably expand the installation.

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