Thailand sank deeper into political chaos yesterday as anti-government demonstrators forced the closure of airports and railway lines, stranding foreign and domestic passengers and increasing fears of yet another military coup.
In the capital, Bangkok, a crowd of 2,000 people faced a barrage of teargas as they attempted to take over police headquarters. In other parts of the country, members of the Peopleâ€™s Alliance for Democracy (PAD) demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Samak Sundaraveg shut down airports in Hat Yai and the tourist resorts of Phuket and Krabi.
â€œThis is embarrassing in front of the world,â€ Mr Samak said, three days after being forced out of his office by demonstrators. â€œI have several tools at my disposal, but I am not using any of them because I want to keep things calm. I will not quit. If you want me out, do it by law, not by force.â€
According to Thai newspaper websites, striking railway workers brought a halt to trains, and unions were urging airline and railway workers to take â€œsick leaveâ€ in support of the protests â€” the most serious political crisis since a military coup that deposed Thaksin Shinawatra, the former Prime Minister, two years ago.
The confrontation began on Tuesday when supporters of the PAD â€” which, despite its name, advocates an end to a democratic system â€” raided a state television station, government buildings and the compound containing the Prime Ministerâ€™s office. They have barricaded themselves behind razor wire and car tyres.
Their resources and the seeming reluctance of the police to act suggests that the protesters may have influential supporters in the army or the royal establishment. PAD supporters wave pictures of the King, Bhumibol Adulyadej, reading â€œWe love the King. We love Thailandâ€.
â€œWe definitely wonâ€™t leave the Government House until we can topple Samakâ€™s administration,â€ the PAD leader, Sonthi Limthongkul, said. â€œHe cannot stay on for long, I am very sure of that.â€
Mr Samak was elected last December after the general election victory of his People Power Party (PPP), and made no secret of his loyalty to Mr Thaksin, the most popular, but most divisive, Prime Minister in Thailandâ€™s history.
Mr Thaksin was deposed in the military coup in 2006 and went into exile in London, where he became proprietor of Manchester City Football Club.
This weekâ€™s demonstrations may, however, represent a last hurrah by the PAD, which has lost support among ordinary Thais for its confrontational tactics
The first contact has been made with people living on a remote island battered by a South Pacific cyclone which struck the Solomons group last weekend.
A New Zealand cameraman who arrived on Tikopia island by helicopter on Friday said all the island’s inhabitants appear to have survived.
“The whole way there I thought I would see hundreds of dead and festering bodies, but instead we were just overwhelmed with people running toward the plane,” cameraman Geoff Mackley told The Australian newspaper.
Mr Mackley’s report is yet to be independently confirmed, but a boat carrying relief supplies is expected to arrive at Tikopia at first light on Sunday.
There had been fears that many of the island’s population – estimated at between 1,000 and 2,000 – had perished when Cyclone Zoe hit the South Pacific last Sunday.
No information has been received from Anuta since the cyclone knocked out its radio communications.
Cyclone Zoe was one of the most powerful ever to hit the region, producing winds of up to 360 kph (225 mph).
Mr Mackley was the first to raise fears of disaster when he flew over Tikopia on 1 January, saying it would be a “miracle” if a huge number of deaths had been avoided.
But when he landed on the remote island on Friday, he said he was greeted by people rushing towards him with tales of survival.
“Every single person was alive and there they were, standing in front of me,” he said.
The islanders had apparently sheltered in mountain caves, following a centuries-old practice used by their ancestors during cyclones.
But while the death toll appears to be less than feared, the devastation caused by the cyclone is immense, Mr Mackley said.
“It looks like Hiroshima,” he told The Australian. “Whole villages have been inundated by the sea.”
The villagers told Mr Mackley how their homes and crops had been completely destroyed by waves of up to 10 metres high, and said they would need food aid for another three years.
Supplies of fresh water have also been contaminated by salt water and are only available at low tide, Mr Mackley said.
The true extent of the damage will be assessed when the first rescue boat finally reaches Tikopia and Anuta later on Saturday.
Australia and New Zealand, the two wealthiest nations in the region, have been criticised for delays in assessing the damage.
Both governments have said the sheer isolation of the two islands has hampered rescue efforts.
“How can you decide to parachute supplies in if you don’t have an assessment of what’s required,” an Australian government official said on Friday.
The two islands are part of the impoverished Solomon Islands, an archipelago 2,250 km (1,400 miles) northeast of Sydney, Australia.
The island of Anuta is one of almost a thousand islands that make up the Melanesian nation of the Solomon Islands. Together, this group of islands cover a land mass of 28,400 square kilometres. Anuta island has been known as â€˜te fatu sekesekeâ€™, the slippery stone, due to it being such a small spot in the ocean – just half a mile in diameter and 70 miles from the next populated island, so hard to find and so easily â€˜slidâ€™ away from. Political and geographical circumstances have isolated Anuta and its Polynesian population throughout history.
The first documented sighting of Anuta was in 1791. Over the centuries, Anuta has been visited by occasional ships. Currently, a cargo ship sets sail from Honiara, the capital city of the Solomon Islands, on a round trip of the outlying islands. This is the only guaranteed contact the island has with the outside world. The cargo ship is infrequent and cannot be depended on as its course and timings are severely affected by the weather patterns that blow across the South Pacific Ocean.
It was a cargo ship that first brought Christianity to Anuta in 1916. Anglican missionaries arrived on the island, and to this day the church still operates and plays a vital part in Anutan life with church services twice a day. The church is believed to be responsible for protecting the island and its population from harm (such as epidemics, droughts and other natural disasters). Despite the strong Christian beliefs on Anuta, life is still shaped by tradition. Although the Christian God has replaced the ancient chiefsâ€™ roles in many ways, chiefs and their close relatives maintain a sense of responsibility for the islandâ€™s spiritual welfare.
The chiefs are highly regarded on the island. Taboos exist surrounding behaviour in their presence: the Anutans think of the head as sacred and the feet profane, and therefore, physical height in rituals is important. When inside the chiefâ€™s hut, people must crawl; standing up and being higher than the chief is very badly thought of. Anutans often greet each other with a traditional Polynesian nose kiss or pikita.
When greeting the chief it is normal to press oneâ€™s nose against the chiefâ€™s knee. The chief then lifts his hand under the personâ€™s chin and lifts their face so that both parties are pressing noses. Although Christianity has taken the place of many of Anutaâ€™s traditional beliefs, certain practices such as this are still strictly followed.
The resident population on Anuta is just under two hundred and fifty. Although Anuta is very isolated there is a steady flow of people and objects to and from the island. On Anuta young men in particular tend to come and go by cargo ships or visiting vessels. It is not uncommon for people who visit the island to become adopted into a family and end up staying.
On Anuta, everyone is recognised as being related to everyone else. Family members are related to other family members not only by genetics but also because of certain types of social behaviour. The realities of social life in a population as small as Anuta mean that it is impossible to stick to a simple model of family relationships. A relative who is classified on the basis of social rather than genetic ties is just as much a member of his or her family group. This is important on Anuta when a visitor to the island needs to be adopted into a family and made to feel that they belong.
Concern for others is the backbone of Anutan philosophy. ‘Aropa’ is a concept for giving and sharing, roughly translated as compassion, love and affection. Aropa informs the way Anutans treat one another and it is demonstrated through the giving and sharing of material goods such as food. For example, the land on Anuta is shared among the family units so that each family can cultivate enough food to feed themselves and those around them.
The gardens on Anuta are vital sources of food for the islanders. Every family unit is responsible for the production and maintenance of their own hill top gardens. The volcanic soils grow the main staples in the Anutan diet: manioc, taro and bananas. Taro, Anutaâ€™s most highly valued crop, is fragile and needs care and attention to ensure its growth. Manioc, on the other hand is a lot hardier, providing the Anutans with a back-up in times of storm or drought. Crop rotation is practiced on Anuta; they rarely leave fields fallow, but rotate crops so that the soil is not exhausted. This way of farming is one of the most intensive in the whole of the Pacific, as it has to support the dense population of the island.
The threat of natural disasters leaving the island with little or no food is a reality for the Anutans. They regularly bury cooked manioc or taro in what is termed a maa pit. The food, wrapped in banana leaves, is allowed to ferment in a dark and air tight environment. There are maa pits dotted around the entire island and families will share whatever they have. In 2003, Anuta was badly hit by Cyclone Zoe and much of the islandâ€™s crops were destroyed. Maa food was essential in keeping the population fed after the cyclone devastated so much of the island’s resources.
It is not just the hill top gardens that provide the Anutans with food. The sandy soils of the beach areas provide prime growing for coconut palms. The coconut has many uses on Anuta. People drink the juice and eat the flesh. It is also common to shred coconut flesh and extract the cream from it, to be used in cooking. Coconut shells are used as bowls and cups and the dried coconut husks are used for wiping dirty hands and starting fires. Coconut leaves are also used to thatch roofs and cover canoes, and they can be woven to make mats, fans and baskets.
Fruit trees such as banana and papaya are scattered all over the island and add variety to the Anutan diet, as does sugar cane which is popular with the children. The slopes of the hills are also home to breadfruit trees, a variety of palms as well as turmeric, which the Anutans use to make their ritually important dye (turmeric is also used as a spice in flavouring certain types of foods).
The land provides Anuta with a great deal of its food, but the islandâ€™s most productive source of protein is the sea. The islanders catch a variety of small reef fish close to the beach, either by communal fish drives where everyone works together to trap fish in pools in the reef system, or by snorkelling or net fishing at low tide. Tuna, wahoo, bonito, sail fish, marlin and other bigger fish are caught in deeper seas, normally on sea-going canoe trips.
Anutan fishermen know the reef system well and have a great understanding of the waves. Today, the Anutans are among some of the last Polynesians to make sea journeys in their traditional canoes using navigation techniques that have been in practice for centuries.
When travelling at night Anutans use the stars to navigate. The bow of the canoe is pointed towards a succession of stars, each star is followed when it is low in the sky and as it rises up overhead it is discarded and the course is reset by the next one in the series. It is not only the stars that are used for navigation: the clouds, the directions of the waves and the ocean swells all provide the Anutan fishermen and voyagers with important messages.
Fishermen are the only Anutans who earn money. If they catch shark, they cut off the fins and dry them. The fins are then sold to passing cargo ships or in the capital city, Honiara, when the fishermen get the opportunity to leave the island.
It is common for men to leave Anuta in the pursuit of wage labour overseas. This time away, often throughout the Solomon Islands, can range from a few months to years. Wage workers occasionally send money or goods to relatives back on Anuta, and those returning to live on the island often bring back a supply of manufactured goods.
One of the major effects of overseas contact is a dispute between the generations over health care. Anutans who have lived off the island often get a taste of western medical care, but there are no modern medical facilities when illness strikes back on the island.
In the late 1990s the chiefs on Anuta and their advisors refused to accept western medicines on the island. They argued that such a move would indicate a lack of faith in the church. It is thought by many of the Anutan elders that medicines on the island will attract more disease.
The young people of Anuta do not share all of the chiefs’ opinions, but Anuta is one of the most isolated communities on earth so change happens slowly. At the moment the island is stable and balanced both socially and environmentally. The resources are sufficient to satisfy the population, and the attitude that the Anutans share for one another, aropa, promotes co-operation and sustainability.
If this balance of life is upset the future for the island will become less certain. Epidemics, natural disasters, climate change and the encroachment of the modern world are all potential threats.
Due to its remote geographical location, Anuta’s environment, traditions and culture have been well preserved. The Anutans value their traditional practices such as travelling in their hand-carved outriggers. The island provides an abundance of crops, fish, and a high quality water source from a natural spring; Anuta has successfully supported the dense population for centuries and will hopefully continue to do so.
New Guinean authorities, with the help of the Australian, US and Japanese governments, are investigating the discovery of what is thought to be the skeleton of a World War II pilot.
Bush walkers discovered the skeleton hanging from a jungle canopy halfway along the 96 kilometre historic Kokoda Track, a World War II path which was used for troop movements during the battle.
The man who discovered the skeleton said it was swinging in a tree, caught up in a seat harness and was covered with moss.
The suspected remains of a WWII airman discovered in a jungle region of Papua New Guinea have turned out to be the moss-covered branches of a tree.
Hikers on the country’s Kokoda Trail found what appeared to be the remains of a parachutist tangled in wires and dangling in a tree two weeks ago.
The Australian military sent a team to investigate the “body” only to discover it was a branch tangled in vines.
An Australian Defence Force (ADF) statement said that although the location of the find was below a flight path commonly used by Allied aircraft during WWII sorties, the “remains” were in fact a moss-covered branch.
Tual has become an ‘Island of the Damned’ for the runaway Burmese fishermen
Hundreds of “undocumented” Burmese fishermen – perhaps up to 2,000 men – have been abandoned on the remote Indonesian island of Tual, west of Papua New Guinea.
Compelled by poverty to leave their military-ruled homeland for “illegal” work in the Thai fishing fleet, the seafarers have escaped brutal working conditions and even murder on the high seas.
Some have been on Tual so long that they have married local women and have families.
Others, say reliable sources, have gone feral, scavenging the island’s forested interior and clearing smallholdings to feed themselves.
Forgotten by the world, for Burmese fishermen Tual has become an “Island of the Damned”.
South Pacific island nations have armies of unemployed and underemployed people who will turn to violence if its economic, social and political problems are not dealt with, a report by a Sydney-based think-tank said.
“It is only a matter of time before the growing army of unemployed and underemployed turns from restless to violent,” said a new report on the South Pacific released on Thursday, adding that the region’s poor economic development lags similar island nations like those in the Caribbean.
The report by the Centre for Independent Studies in Sydney said two million Pacific island men, or four out of five, were unemployed in towns or villages.
“These islanders are bored and frustrated. Unemployment and underemployment are at the core of the Pacific’s ‘arc of instability,’ ” it said.
The South Pacific has some of the world’s smallest and poorest countries, with economies reliant upon tourism, logging, royalties from fishing and foreign aid. The island nations of Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and Fiji have all suffered coups, military rebellions and civil unrest, and have been labelled an “arc of instability” by Pacific analysts.
The report titled The Bipolar Pacific”said the South Pacific was divided into nations which are developing and those failing to even supply running water and electricity in homes. Those floundering islands included Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu, while those developing were the Cook Islands, French Polynesia, New Caledonia, Samoa and Tonga.
“Without employment-led growth, crime and corruption will worsen. Port Moresby (the capital of Papua New Guinea) has become one of the most violent cities in the world,” it said.
“With major criminal interests now operating in the region, the Pacific is developing its comparative advantage as a location for international criminal activities such as people-smuggling, drug production, and arms trafficking,” the report noted.
The danger was that about 80 per cent of the South Pacific’s population was found in the failing group of islands, where employment was rare and living standards were not rising, it said.
More than fifty years after World War II, the Solomon Islands Police Bomb Disposal Unit are still destroying live bombs.
Senior Sergeant Emmanuel Maepurina of the OIC Bomb Disposal Unit stated that since January, 732 live bombs were disposed at the Tenaru area where some of the bombs were also collected. It is estimated that thousands more are around, posing danger to unsuspecting citizens.
According to Mr. Maepurina, all Provinces except Makira Province, Temotu Province and Rennell and Bellona were visited to confiscate bombs. Makira, Temotu and Rennell and Bellona were believed to have never been visited during the war.
Three tours have been conducted to the Weather Coast in Guadalcanal, Central Province and the Western Province. Guadalcanal and Western Provinces were the main Provinces where both American and the Japanese had fought in. This is quite evident from the ship wrecks, plane wrecks, water tanks and the air fields built during World War II.
Senior Sergeant Emmanuel Maepurina advised the public to alert the police whenever a bomb is sighted. Either alive or dead, Mr. Maepurina advised that bombs are not to be touched or moved, as from experience, Solomon Islanders tend to move the objects not realizing it could be dangerous.
Mr Maepurina also stated that home made bombs are illegal, therefore anyone caught doing so will be dealt with accordingly.
“For example, early this year, a person from the Kakabona area was using a home made grenade made from World War II relics to catch fish, exploded before he could use it and was rushed to the hospital where he died the next day.” Says Mr. Maepurina.
He also confirmed that home made bomb victims are high.
VILLAGE life lies at the heart of Solomon Islands. So its future fate has profound implications to the continued existence of the nation.
For the village is not simply a peopleâ€™s residential site but it is shorthand for a completely different way of living than found in more developed parts of the world; a symbol of and a code word for the reality in which the overwhelming majority of our people choose to live.
The Solomons is most profoundly a nation of villages! 84%+ of our people live, work and exist in these settlements which are much more than dormitory sites. Children are born in, grow up and dwell in a particular village because itâ€™s very location attests to the presence of lifeâ€™s essential resource base.
It is the place of food production, house materials, water for drinking, cooking and washing, medicine, fuel supply, real estate, recreation, etc. etc. These are the material side of life.
But culture, politics, economics, life education, security, world view, etc. are an essential part of the reality of the village as well. All the stuff a person needs for basic living is found in the village.
Many in modern society, however, can and do move around to different parts of their country, choosing to live closer to work commitment or to enjoy better weather conditions or whatever.
For the Melanesian, leaving the ancestral land base, at least mentally, is often seen as but a temporary departure, with a strong intention, although not always followed through, of returning one day to oneâ€™s roots. Hence, in the Melanesian mind the village is not a temporary stop along lifeâ€™s road but a permanent life structure.
However, the outsider, those born and raised in different societies, especially those living the cash economy, assume that Solomon Islands is evolving, slowly of course, towards a miniature version of the capitalist West. Hence to prepare for this kind of future requires an economic system, legal framework and political life reflective of those in advanced Western democracies.
The question, however, must be; is this an accurate assumption? Are the Solomons inevitably headed in that direction or is the nation trying to carve out for itself a different kind of nation. If in truth it is traveling towards a predominate cash economy, how long will this journey take?
The 1976 national census found that the Solomons urban population–Honiara, Gizo, Auki, Kira Kira, etc. etc.–worked out to be 12% of the population.
More over, it was widely accepted by many that by the turn of the century, almost 30% of Solomonsâ€™ population would have already flooded into the nationâ€™s urban and peri-urban areas. Yet, the 1999 national census found something different. It established that only 16% of our people had taken up urban residence.
In a real sense Solomon Islanders were bucking a global trend whereby the bulk of rural people in other countries were drifting towards bigger and bigger urban centres. Some of the largest cities–Shanghai, Delhi, Jakarta, etc.–had more than 10,000,000 people and were growing by leaps and bounds yearly.
Over a 23 year period, then, Solomons urban growth had been a modest 4% rise much less than what had been predicted. The bulk of our people, contrary to expert predictions, had remained in the country side.
The present government as well as the previous Sogovare one both recognized this basic truth and built up national development plans emphasizing Rural Advancement and the Bottom Up Approach.
Each December, for instance, the nation witnesses a mass exodus of city people out of Honiara back to the village. The city noticeably thins out when its citizens head for different provinces but knowing full well that their home villages have little piped water, proper toilet facilities and a diet, for the most part, bland.
What is it then that continues to attract so many of them back to village life even if only for a few short weeks?
Some say that returning to village life, even for a short period, is a way or recharging internal batteries for the rest of the year of town living. I go a step further! Returning to village life is a re-confirmation of the Melanesian world view: they do not own the land but the land owns them!
Will the village disappear? No, far from it! Solomon Islandsâ€™ village life will not only not disappear but will grow stronger during the 21st century. In proof let the Social Unrest years speak out!
This 1998-2003 period witnessed a state seriously failing in its obligations to its citizens. It was the village alone that kept the nation together, not the government.
What lessons should RAMSI be learning from the idea that the village and all it stands for will strengthen? A strong case can be made that the Social Unrest years are fundamentally a cry for a different kind of Solomon Islands and not one which is a pale imitation of metropolitan nations.
A nation that understands and incorporates the villagersâ€™ world view rather than one that imposes a new world vision.
March 12 2004
Port Moresby – Authorities in Papua New Guinea ordered police to search part of a remote island after locals told of seeing a giant dinosaur-like creature roaming the area, local media reported Friday.
Villagers on the island of New Britain this week reported seeing a three-metre tall, grey-coloured beast with a head like a dog and a tail like a crocodile, The National newspaper recounted.
Christine Samei told reporters she saw the “dinosaur” early on Wednesday in a marsh just outside the provincial capital Kokopo on the eastern end of New Britain.
“I heard the people talking about it and went there to see for myself. Its very huge and ugly looking animal,” Samei said.
A local ward councillor, Michael Tarawana, told the newspaper that villagers said the creature had been sighted by women on several occasions and had reportedly eaten three dogs.
On Thursday, six police officers armed with M-16 assault rifles and villagers carrying bush knives searched the marsh new Tinganavudu village but found no trace of the creature, The National said. The search was confirmed by government officials in the capital, Port Moresby.
The police officer who led Thursday’s hunt, Sergeant Leuth Nidung, said a new search involving 30 officers would be organised to do a more thorough sweep of the area.
He urged villagers in the meantime to remain alert and take extra care when walking to their gardens or the sea, the newspaper said.
Black magic and other superstitions are common in many parts of PNG’s predominantly village-based society.
The Trobriand Islands are an archipelago of coral atolls off the eastern coast of New Guinea. Most of the population lives on the main island of Kiriwina. The people of the area are mostly subsistence horticulturalists who live in traditional settlements. The social structure is based on matrilineal clans who control land and resources. People participate in the regional circuit of exchange of shells called kula, sailing to visit trade partners on sea-going canoes.
Although an understanding of reproduction and modern medicine is widespread in Trobriand Society, their traditional beliefs have been remarkably resilient, and the idea that in order to become pregnant women must be infused with spirits from the nearby island of Tuma, where peopleâ€™s spirits go after they die, is still a part of the Trobriand worldview. In the past, many held this traditional belief because the yam, a major food of the island, included chemicals whose effects are contraceptive, so the practical link between sex and pregnancy was not evident.
Particularly interesting and unique to the Trobriand Islands are the linguistic aspect of the indigenous language, Kilivila. In such a linguistic system, the concept of linear progress of time, geometric shapes, and even conventional methods of description are lost altogether or altered. In the example of a specific indigenous yam, when the yam moves from a state of sprouting to ripeness to over ripeness, the name for each object in a specific state changes entirely. This is because the description of the object at different states of development are perceived as wholly different objects. Ripeness is considered a defining ingredient and thus once it becomes over ripe, it is a new object altogether. The same perception pertains to time and geometric shapes.
Our arrangement of history is mainly linear. My great grandfather read by kerosene lamp, my grandfather studied by gaslight, my father read by an electric light, and I study by fluorescent lighting. To us, this is linearity. This is the meaningful sequence.
To the Trobriander, linearity in history is abominable, a denial of all good, since it would imply not only the presence of change, but also that change increases the good. But to the Trobriander value lies in sameness, in repeated pattern, in the incorporation of all time within the same point. What is good in life is exact identity with all past experience and all mythical experience. There is no boundary between past Trobriand existence and the present. It can be indicated that an action is completed, but this does not mean that the action is past.
Where we would say â€œMany years agoâ€ and use the past tense, the Trobriander will say, â€œIn my fatherâ€™s childhoodâ€ and use non temporal verbs. They place the event situationally, not temporally. Past, present, and future are presented linguistically as the same, are present in existence, and sameness with what we call the past and with myth represents value to the Trobriander.
Where we see a developmental line, the Trobriander sees a point, sometimes increasing in value. Where we find pleasure and satisfaction in moving away from that point, in change as variety or progress, the Trobriander finds it in the repetition of the known, in maintaining the point, or what we call monotony. Esthetic validity, dignity, and value come to them not through arrangement into a linear line, but rather in the undisturbed events within the original, nonlineal order.
The only history which has meaning for the Trobriander is that which evokes the value of the point, or which in the repetition increases the value of the point. For example, every occasion in which a kula object participates becomes an ingredient of its being and increases its value. All these occasions are enumerated with great satisfaction, but the linear course of the traveling kula object is not important.
An estimated 30,000 people including children die of unnatural reasons every year in Bangladesh. Of this 17,000 are children who drowned, said a survey of the Bangladesh Health and Injury.
The BHI survey said the death rate of children in the country from various diseases has declined over the last two years, while drowning of children has increased.
Several studies carried out by the ICDDRâ€™B and the BHI revealed that lack of awareness was largely responsible.
It said that during floods, a large number of mothers and family members keep children busy doing household chores between 9am and 2pm, allowing them to stray out of sight.
According to UNICEF, during the rainy season between June to August last year as many as 946 people die. Of these 816 drowned. The victims were mostly children aged below five years.
Talking to newsmen, UNICEF project officer Sumona Safinaz said many drown during flooding in far-flung areas and these incidents do not get published.
The incidence of drowning of children between one and 17 years of age is more than deaths from pneumonia or diarrhoea, according to Children and Mother Affairs Institute of the Health Ministry.
Another survey carried out by the BHI observed that children usually drown in ponds, ditches, lakes even in dry season.
Sumona said the drowning incidents occur when children go to ponds or lakes without their parents or relatives. Moreover, she said, the mothers often keep their children with their relatives who are not capable of rescuing children.
She said mothers of joint families work most of the day to keep the house running and leave their kids with others.
The studies suggested a massive social awareness projetc and said policy makers, health workers as well as local people can play an active role in a coordinated manner in getting children to keep a safe distance from water-bodies.
It recommended inclusion of information related to drowning in schools and holding discussions with imams.
Five students of Mirpur MDC Model High School between 13 to 15 years of old drowned recently after a boat went down in Dhaka cityâ€™s Mirpur area.
The accident took place when 10 students were boating on Mirpur lake as their school ended earlier on that day.
Five of the students swam ashore while the others drowned.
Two days after the Mirpur incident, seven students drowned at Signal point in Coxâ€™s Bazar beach. Three were rescued.
The international journalistsâ€™ organisation, Reporters Without Borders, has condemned two cases of Fiji journalists being arrested and questioned for several hours by police in the past 10 days.
The latest was that of Fiji Times reporter Serafina Salaitoga, who was arrested at her home in the presence of her children, after writing a story that quoted a businessman Charan Jeath Singh as commenting about Suva politics.
Isaac Lal of the Daily Post was arrested and interrogated about an article linking a convict, Josefa Baleiloa, to an alleged plot to assassinate national leaders.
Mr Lal was picked up after the police spokeswoman complained about being quoted in the report.
Reporters Without Borders says these arrests will foster a climate of fear among journalists and harm news coverage.