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Foreign Ministry warns of the dangers of drowning in Guam

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- Travelers to Guam should be on high alert for drowning dangers in the widely popular tourist attraction for Taiwanese, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said yesterday.

An increasing number of drowning incidents have been reported in the island recently, MOFA said yesterday in a released statement.

As one of the most popular tourist attractions to Taiwanese travelers, MOFA reminds visitors to the Pacific island to be on high alert when engaging in swimming activities in Guam.

According to MOFA, drowning incidents often occur in Guam during its trade wind season, which runs from January to March each year. This dry, windy trade-wind season means the waves in the island's surrounding seas are rougher and could lead to water-related incidents.

MOFA shared some tips to avoid drowning, including never swimming alone and not swimming at tourists attractions such as Tumon Bay and Hagatna Bay areas when lifeguards are not on duty.

One should also check his or her physical condition before jumping into water and check water conditions before swimming.

Meanwhile, MOFA said it would maintain its lowest level “gray” alert for Guam for the time being.

Under MOFA's four-color coded travel advisory system, the red alert is the highest level of warning, followed by orange, yellow and gray.

In case of emergency during their tours, MOFA said Taiwanese nationals can reach Taiwan's representative office in Guam at 1-671-988-7088 or call a 24/7 hotline at 0800-085-095 to reach MOFA's headquarters in Taipei.

According to a Guam-based newspaper “The Pacific Daily News” report dated Jan. 10, there have been at least eight water-related incidents within a month in Guam and four in the last seven days.

MOFA previously issued a similar warning to the Maldives last November after a Taiwanese fell victim to drowning in the Indian Ocean island nation.

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