MANILA (AFP): At least 72 people have died by drowning in the Philippines since the start of the month, police said Monday, attributing the unusually high figure in part to millions hitting the beach for Holy Week.
The holiday is traditionally marked in the Catholic-majority nation by millions of people leaving the capital Manila to spend time with family.
Philippine National Police spokeswoman Col. Jean Fajardo said the high toll was partly due to “revenge travel” as the country emerges from years of mobility restrictions to contain the coronavirus.
“People got a bit excited to go to beaches and resorts,” Fajardo said.
A breakdown of the fatalities was not immediately available, but Fajardo said the victims included children who were left unattended by guardians while swimming, as well as people who hit beaches while drunk.
Fajardo called the death toll “unusual” and higher than past years.
“Resorts and beaches were packed. This also contributed to the number of drowning incidents,” she added.
The World Health Organization has said drowning is the third leading cause of unintentional injury deaths worldwide, with an estimated 236,000 fatalities annually.