Safety needs of the people come first
- Aye Min Soe
- While many people are celebrating Thingyan, police are on full alert across the country, seizing weapons and bottles in order to prevent crimes, cracking down on reckless driving and tightening security and safety measures at lakes and reservoirs to prevent drowning.
Awareness-raising and educational campaigns were conducted nationwide before the water festival and traffic police have also struggled to curb drunk driving, which surges during the holiday week.
Meanwhile, traffic police have stepped up efforts to check vehicles for safety and roadworthiness around the clock to prevent road accidents. Members of the Myanmar Fire Service Department have also been stationed at lakes with full gear since the beginning of the water festival to prevent drownings.
The nationwide death toll for the water festival last year reached 32, while there were 235 people injured over the five day period of the festival. Thirty-four cases of traffic accidents were reported during the festival, resulting in 14 deaths and 176 injuries.
There were 16 reported deaths as a result of other incidents, mostly drowning, during the festival.
During the five day festival, officials said that more than 50 per cent of patients treated at the hospital were those injured in road accidents and fights while under the influence of alcohol.
Fighting under the influence of alcohol, traffic accidents and drowning are common during the four-day Thingyan festival.
Myanmar Police Force did not allow revelers to use or carry bottles and sent those who were intoxicated back to their homes. The number of cases dropped last year thanks to the cooperation of the people.
Yangon Region Police Force has deployed 60% of its force for 2017 water festival by cooperating with its partner organizations like general administration department, fire service department and red cross society.
Myanmar Police Force, which were appreciated last year for its achievement in the last year’s festival, has focused on service than arresting since last year, providing full security to all water throwing pandals.
Mine clearance in pandals are carried out twice a day; in the morning and afternoon.
Theoretically, awareness-raising and education can be seen as the key in reducing the number of road accidents and deaths during the festival.
However, without the cooperation of the people, we cannot solve the problem. Public campaigns alone will not eradicate the deaths and injuries. We hope that the country will achieve success this year again in reducing accidents during the New Year festival thanks to the cooperation of the people. Let’s celebrate Thingyan “together with the people”.