One thousand people every day or 40 people each hour lose their lives to drowning worldwide, the global drowning report of World Health Organization (WHO) has revealed.

More than 90% of deaths occur in low and middle-income countries, with the highest rates reported in the African, South East Asia and Western Pacific regions.

The report also stated that more than half of the fatalities are people aged below 25 years and the highest rates for drowning are children under five years old.

WHO department for management of noncommunicable diseases, disability, violence and injury prevention director Dr Etienne Krug said: "Drowning occurs in bathtubs, buckets, ponds, rivers, ditches and pools, as people go about their daily lives.

"Losing hundreds of thousands of lives this way is unacceptable, given what we know about prevention."

"The huge loss to drowning each year is both ‘disturbing and unacceptable." 

According to the International Maritime Rescue Federation (IMRF), the report has placed issues firmly on the world health agenda and supports recommendations for improved data, national water safety strategies, tailored programmes and global partnerships.

The report is ‘shocking’ and the huge loss to drowning each year is both ‘disturbing and unacceptable’, IMRF said.

The report also throws light on the necessity to make drowning prevention a key element in a number of current debates such as climate change, which leads to increased flooding and mass migration, as well as issues such as rural development and water and sanitation.

Image: The highest drowning rates are reported in Africa, South East Asia and the Western Pacific. Photo: courtesy of International Maritime Rescue Federation.