North East Wales

Llangollen river expert targets Nile deaths in Sudan

Khartoum Image copyright Other
Image caption The project south of Khartoum teaches water safety to villagers living by the Nile

A Denbighshire river rescue expert is travelling to Sudan to help reduce drowning rates on the River Nile.

Dan Graham, 28, helped to set up The Nile Swimmers Project to train Sudanese villagers in water safety skills.

He works for a Llangollen firm which teaches swift water rescue around Europe and was asked by the British Council to set up the project in 2007.

Now, he is returning to see how communities have been getting on as well as teaching new groups of people.

Mr Graham says Africa has one of the world's highest drowning mortality rates, and the River Nile poses a major threat to the lives of thousands of villagers.

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The 10-day training programme south of Khartoum takes place from October 21 and is designed to provide water rescue and emergency first aid skills to 15 participants from villages along the river.

They will then pass on their knowledge and skills to their communities.

The Nile Swimmers Project is a joint initiative with the Sudanese Sea Scouts.

Support also come from national and international organisations including The Royal Life Saving Society Commonwealth.

Image copyright Other
Image caption Dan Graham hopes The Nile Swimmers Project can reduce the numbers of drowning deaths in Sudan

"Despite the river being used for daily chores, fishing and transportation, very few people in Sudan know how to swim and water safety guidelines on boats are rarely put into practice," said Mr Graham.

He says no research has been carried out on the exact drowning figures along the River Nile.

However, fellow project leader Tilal Salih, the volunteer coordinator, says a large number of Sudanese people know someone who has lost their life in the river.

"Now is the time to do something about it," he said.

While being widen in Sudan, the project also aims to expand into other countries in the Nile Basin.

It also aims to promote friendship and understanding by bringing together people from different backgrounds, as some have been affected by conflict.

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