3 killed, 600 others hurt in New Year's Eve revelries

MANILA -- Three people were killed while 600 others were injured in New Year's Eve revelries in 2005, police and health officials said Sunday. 

Among the fatalities was a six-year-old girl hit by a stray bullet, National Police spokesperson Chief Supt. Leopoldo Bataoil said, adding that the victim was from General Trias town in Cavite who was hit Saturday afternoon. 

Two other fatalities died of "watusi" poisoning, said Health Secretary Francisco Duque. 

In a news conference in Manila, Duque said they have monitored about 610 firecracker-related injuries and victims of stray bullets, up four percent from the 585 cases recorded in 2004. 

From 6 a.m. of December 21 to 6 a.m. of January 1, the health department recorded 582 injuries due to firecrackers, 19 due to stray bullets and nine due to ingestion of "watusi" or dancing firecrackers, two of whom died. 

The health secretary said the figure for this year was recorded from Dec. 21, 2005 to 6 a.m. of January 1 in 50 hospitals nationwide. 

He said the breakdown of the figure are as follows: firecracker injuries, 585; stray bullets, 19; and "watusi-induced" poisoning, 9. 

Duque said the number of victims of stray bullets declined as 33 cases were recorded in 2004. 

The health office attributed the increase to the use of dangerous and powerful firecrackers as well as new innovations in fireworks such as the "picolo," an improvised device made of PVC pipes. 

Duque said the number of injuries might have been higher if the government did not embark on an information campaign on the hazards of firecrackers. 

Likewise, he said there was a sharp increase in eye injuries due to the presence of improvised cannons made from PVC pipes in the market. Statistics showed that of the total firecracker-related injuries, 99 were inflicted in the eyes. 

"We can see that the trend (of firecracker-related injuries over the years) has reached a plateau. We can attribute this to our information campaign," Duque said. 

Twenty nine percent of those injured were merely onlookers and 15 percent were passersby. Twenty-seven among those injured patients required limb amputation. 

Meanwhile, a fisherman was seriously wounded after he used a dynamite to welcome the New Year instead of firecrackers. 

Romeo dela Pena, of Orion town in Bataan province lost his right hand in the blast. Doctors at the Bataan General Hospital decided to amputate the hand of Dela Pena after it sustained severe injuries caused by a dynamite blast. 

(PNA/Sunnex)

02/01/2006

Bron : Sun Star Online

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