The Kurdish Globe
By Shvan Goran-Duhok
22 people have drowned in Duhok so far this year
Just a few kilometres south west of Bardarash district, tens of young people, mostly between the ages of 16 - 24 are spending their hot Ramadan day swimming in a spot in Xazir River where a father and his 9 - year old son drowned just four months ago.
"This is the only place we have right now to swim in, we don't have any other choices," said Dilshad Mohammad, a 21 year-old boy from Bardarash, who came with some of his friends to swim there. He told The Globe that there isn't even a swimming pool in his town, "we often come here, we know that it's sometimes dangerous, but we don't care" he said.
As summer comes, many people from the cities and towns go swimming in the nearby rivers instead of swimming pools; and because of the depth of these rivers and some swimmers' lack of experience, some people tragically drown.
"Sometimes other people from other places come here who don't know about dangerous places in the river," Mohammad told the Globe. According to Directorate of Civil Defense in Duhok, 22 people have drowned since the beginning of the year in Duhok province as a result of swimming in rivers and dams.
Several days ago, an 18-year old young drowned while swimming in Duhok Dam. "He went with some friends of his swimming and fishing in Duhok Dam, but he didn't know to swim, so he couldn't save himself and drowned," said Niwar Fareeq, from the Media department of Duhok civil defense in a press conference on August 8th. "I hope that people keep away from swimming in rivers and dams, especially people who cannot swim well" concluded Fareeq.
A day before, an 8 year-old girl drowned in Xabur River in Zakho, adding to several cases of drowning recorded this alone year in the city of Zakho. As Colonel Sha'lan Ahmed, Director of Zakho Police revealed, "Due to the hot weather, people of Zakho go to the rivers to swim, as a result they may face the risk of drowning" he told a Duhok-based newspaper.
Although, in every district across the Kurdistan Region, a youth center has been built by the former KRG ministry of sports and youth, which also includes swimming pools, most of them are still unused. "If there was anywhere else better to swim in, we would not come here to put our lives at risk" Dilshad said. "It's a free swimming pool, available any time. But it some times costs you your life" he concluded.
Wednesday, 15 August 2012