Dhaka, Aug. 19 (ANI): Figures suggest that around 17,000 children drown in Bangladesh every year, a figure that is proportionately more than anywhere else in the world.
Now, according to The Independent, aid workers are battling to reduce the toll by teaching children to swim.
Instructors from Australia, a nation as famed for its lifeguards, have been teaching swimming and life-saving techniques to Bangladeshis who then pass on the skills to children.
Swimming classes are being held in makeshift bamboo pens that have been set up in murky ponds and canals.
Bangladesh, which sits on the Ganges delta, was once notorious for the threat to children from malnutrition, disease and diarrhoea.
The biggest single threat to children these days is from drowning, which accounts for more than 25 per cent of all child deaths.
Carel de Rooy, the Bangladesh head of UNICEF, which is funding the program, said the danger was only likely to get worse.
The country faces a number of threats from climate change. An increase in melting ice in the Himalayas is causing both a rise in sea levels and increased erosion as rivers flow faster.
Some predictions have suggested that the country of 150 million people could lose up to 20 per cent of its land by 2030. By then up to 20 million people could have become climate-change refugees, forced to leave their flooded homes.
The Australian instructors who have been working in Bangladesh say they believe they have already had an impact. (ANI)