Online map pinpoints drowning dangers in Guangxi

(China Daily)

Updated: 2019-07-18

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Children play at the sea beach in Haikou, South China's Hainan province, Feb 7, 2019. [Photo/VCG]

The education authorities in the Guangxi Zhuang autonomous region posted a map online recently, warning of high-risk drowning areas to reduce the number of children who die while swimming during the summer vacation.

More than 12,000 spots across the region have been highlighted on the map as drowning hazards, with 981 labeled "high risk".

The warning map is a part of a drowning warning system developed by the region's education department and Guilin University of Electronic Technology, according to Deng Guofeng, a professor at the university who was also in charge of developing the system.

The high-risk areas were mapped out according to a collection of drowning cases in past years that were reported by 3,625 schools in the region.

"Judging from the weather conditions and the distribution of drowning areas in the past, our system can now send warning messages to the school staff registered in the system so that they can have time to take precautionary measures," Deng said. Some senior teachers remain on duty during the summer holiday.

When temperatures and humidity are high, people are more likely to go swimming, increasing the chances that someone may drown, Deng said.

The system is also trying to collect information about students who go swimming without schools' or parents' permission so that it can send messages to their parents if they do so again.

"The system is not designed for schools exclusively, but also open to the public," Deng said. "Actually, we need more people to be involved to prevent drowning. The more, the better."

People can reach the system by searching for "gxxyaq" in WeChat, an account focused on Guangxi campus safety.

Deng said people can check the high-risk areas and add information about spots where people have drowned to the online system after verification.

"If people catch students jumping in the water, they can report it to the security staff through the system on their phone," Deng said.

Drowning is one of the main causes of students' deaths from accidents, especially when the rainy season begins during summer vacation, said Zhou Xianxing, director of the regional education department's campus security division.

"The system is necessary and helpful," Zhou said. "The local governments will patrol these places, check whether warning signs are set up, and ensure that a long pole for use in rescues is prepared."

Zhou said schools will also be able to take students to the spots where drownings have occurred for safety lessons, something that could not have been done before.

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