More than 200 children have drowned to death in Vietnam since the beginning of this year, an increase over the same period last year, Tuoi Tre quoted an official as saying Wednesday.
Nguyen Trong An, deputy chief of the Department of Protection and Care of Children, said around 3,500 children drown every year.
The number fell in 2010 to around 2,800, but shot up again last year when nearly 3,500 lives were lost, he said.
Hanoi and the central provinces of Nghe An and Thanh Hoa record the highest drowning deaths at 132-180 a year, the newspaper quoted official figures as saying.
They are followed by Central Highlands and Mekong Delta provinces where 75-100 kids drown every year.
A report on Tien Phong news website last week said Vietnamese agencies have tried various measures to prevent children from drowning, but they are not proven effective.
It said while authorities widely propagate information and warnings about drowning risks in the media, it fails to reach the most vulnerable the poor -- because they spend most of their time working outdoors and have no access to newspapers, radio, or television.
Besides, there were too few volunteers working in the field of child care across the country, the report said.
Meanwhile, a proposed project to teach swimming at school in 10 provinces and cities between 2010 and 2015 has yet to be launched, Nguyen Trong Hoan, deputy chief of Nghe An's Department of Education and Training, told Tien Phong.
Lack of infrastructure and funds has been quoted as the reason for this.
In related news, Tuoi Tre reported that nine-year-old Le Thi Uyen Chi and her sister, six-year-old Le Thi Kim Nhi, were found drowned in their family's fish pond in the Central Highlands province of Dak Nong Tuesday.
Locals said the kids had been flying kites near the pond.
A day earlier a seven-year-old girl drowned in a swimming pool at the Thuan Thao Resort in the central province of Phu Yen.
Tuoi Tre said the child drowned while swimming even though life guards were on hand. The accident was discovered too late.
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