KARACHI: Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC) administration lacks lifeguards, who can play a pivotal role to prevent beachgoers from drowning. It is being demanded that the number of lifeguards should be increased to avoid repeat of tragedies like the recent Sea View tragedy where 39 people fell prey to poor administration, showing that the KMC is not focusing beach safety measures.
According to a report, around 250 people drown every year in beach related incidents. However, the recent incident was unusual as an extra-ordinarily high number of people died in one incident.
Chief Fire Officer (CFO) Ahteshamuddin, who heads lifeguards of Karachi Metropolitan Corporation, said that KMC was facing an acute shortage of lifeguards on a vast coastal belt of the Arabian Sea under its control.
“KMC is working with 50 lifeguards from Hawksbay to Mubarak Village, including Sand’s Pit vicinity and some parts of the Clifton beach, while the requirement is 250 to 300 lifeguards,” he said.
The CFO said that the lifeguards were performing their duties around Neelum Point, Paradise Point and Hawksbay where emergency rescue centers were also established. Sources confirmed that the lifeguards are not provided special training and neither equipment. They had a boat, first aid equipment and some medicine for the infection of a rash that erupts after blue-bottles’ (a water organism) sting, which is normal during the breeding season of fish during monsoon.
Encountering picnickers’ verbal and physical abuse are among other difficulties lifeguards face while discharging their duties, said the sources. Ahteshamuddin said that local people who were hired for the lifeguard duty already knew swimming; hence no special training was required in this regard.
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