SSI News Blog

Water safety for refugees

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has released a report* revealing that drowning claims the lives of 372,000 people per year, making it the third leading cause of unintentional injury death worldwide.

Australia’s statistics aren’t great, the latest figures show 332 Australians drowned in one year. It is people from low- and middle-income regions, such as those that many refugees arrive from, who are most at risk of drowning.

Water safety information has been translated to Arabic, Dari, Farsi and Tamil.
Water safety information has been translated to Arabic, Dari, Farsi and Tamil.

This is because they are less likely than Australians to have had swimming lessons.

To assist in the reversal of these statistics, Settlement Services International (SSI) has worked together with Royal Life Saving Society Australia (RLSS) to translate the Society’s water safety factsheets into the languages of migrant communities.

The RLSS ‘Water Smart’ factsheets can now be viewed and downloaded in the primary languages of SSI’s refugee and asylum seeker clients – Arabic, Dari, Farsi and Tamil – as well as English, from www.ssi.org.au/resources/publications.

SSI hopes that these factsheets will help reduce the risk of drowning by emphasising that being around water, even small bodies of water in baths and buckets, can be dangerous. This is especially the case for children in Australia aged one to three, for whom drowning is the leading cause of injury-related death, according to the WHO report.

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*WHO’s first Global report on drowning: preventing a leading killer

Source: 2011 figures, cited in WHO Mortality Database as of 30 April 2014.

December 3, 2014

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Muhammad Sadiq cooking for people seeking asylum at Community Kitchen.I came to Australia as a refugee in 2009, hoping to find a peaceful place to build a home for my family. Increasing persecution of the Hazara community from which my family and I come meant that our native land, Pakistan, was no longer the safe haven it once had been.

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