Over 20 volunteers from Vientiane Rescue 1623 are performing drills to assist anyone in the water in preparation for this year’s boat racing festival in the capital next month.
Vat Chan Festival is the largest boat racing competition in Laos and takes place annually the day after Buddhist Lent ends. This year’s festival falls on October 17.
A senior officer with Vientiane Rescue 1623 under the Foundation for Assisting Poor People of the Lao PDR, Mr Thaksine Khounasen said for this year’s festival over 20 volunteers and three rescue boats would be on standby to assist.
“It’s the third year for our team to contribute security and be on standby to assist with water rescues at the boat racing festival. This year all volunteers will also be on standby 24 hours to help people during the festival day,” he said.
According to Vientiane Rescue this year there were several drowning incidents in the capital and other provinces.
One case occurred in May when a man drowned in a lake at Dongmakkhai village, Xaythany district, Vientiane.
In another tragic incident in June a child fell down into the Mekong River and drowned in Thadeua village, Hadxaifong district, Vientiane.
In July a man also drowned in the Namxuang River in Phonhong district, Vientiane province.
Vientiane Rescue 1623 was set up in 2007 to provide free first aid services to road accident victims, a service which was previously lacking, even in a national capital.
Vientiane Rescue 1623 has grown from a small band of volunteers who gave up their time on weekends to become a team which now comprises some 200 volunteers including 50 women, who are available seven days a week.
It now has eight ambulances and maintains a standby presence in Dongdok, That Luang, Arkard and Nonghai villages ready to be dispatched rapidly to the scene of an accident.
In the future, Vientiane Rescue is planning to add stations at Naxaithong and the Road No. 13 South area.
The team responds to all kinds of emergencies including road accidents, vehicle extrication, fires, drowning, snake bites and other emergencies. “Anytime, anywhere, please call 1623” is its motto.
Every day, the Vientiane Rescue team receives not less than 20 emergency call outs for assistance, the vast majority of which are road accidents.
Source: Vientiane Times