The Turkish National Police have stepped up measures against drownings, which claimed 218 lives in May, June and July across the country. An awareness campaign by police, including TV ads, leaflets and public conferences, has drawn attention to heeding safety while swimming.
According to data from the police, only 46 people drowned in the first four months of this year and cases increased with temperatures rising and more people escaping the heat seeking to cool off in the sea, lakes and pools.
Istanbul leads the list of most drowning cases in May, Jun and July with 27, a number attributed to people ignoring warnings and picking secluded locations for swimming rather than beaches staffed with lifeguards. Twenty-one people drowned in Mersin and another 18 in Adana, two cities in southern Turkey known for exceptionally warm weather.
Celal Özcan, a senior official from the Turkish National Police, says that apart from an awareness campaign, law enforcement stepped up inspections of beaches operated by private companies for safety measures such as the adequate number of lifeguards and warning signs. He said they also worked closely with the emergency authorities and the Ministry of National Education to educate people on how to swim safely. Rip currents are blamed for drownings especially on the Black Sea coast of Turkey with people unaware of the deadly phenomenon often falling victim.
Nearly 10,000 people were killed in drowning incidents over the last 10 years according to statistics, which show drownings peak in July and are relatively higher in June and August, compared to other months of the year.