MANILA, Philippines--Contrary to initial assessments, firecracker-related casualties in the New Year?s revelry were higher than the previous year?s with at least three people killed and more than 800 others seriously injured by pyrotechnics.
About 40 people, including an 8-year-old child, were hit by stray bullets?more than twice the number of victims last year.
Latest reports received by the Department of Health from various hospitals as of 6 a.m. yesterday listed three casualties, including a young boy, and 848 others treated for firecracker-related injuries since Dec. 21.
Among the dead were a 7-year-old boy who died of a brain injury caused by the ?kwitis? (skyrocket) and a 46-year-old man who died of a burn injury from an unknown firecracker. They were both from Central Luzon.
Also killed was a 29-year-old man from the Cordillera Autonomous Region (CAR) who suffered head injuries after a blast from a ?jumbo kwiton bomb.?
The tally of injuries so far was 124 more or 17 percent higher than was recorded last year.
The DOH reported last night that of the 807 victims of firecracker injuries, 69 suffered amputation while 118 sustained eye injuries. The rest had blast burn injuries.
Almost a third of them or 351 were children under 10 years old.
The youngest victim was a 2-month-old male infant.
The DOH said 40 people were hit by stray bullets--more than twice the 17 stray-bullet victims last year.
The stray-bullet victims ranged in age from 8 to 78.
Initially, health officials announced that as of 6 a.m. on Jan. 1, there were no deaths and there were fewer firecracker-related injuries compared to the same period last year.
Health officials blamed this year?s higher number of injuries on the deadly ?piccolo? which was easily accessible and popular among children. The firecracker often exploded in the user?s hands before it could be thrown away.
The Piccolo has so far claimed 250 victims, or about a third of those who were injured.
The other top injury-causing firecrackers were the ?kwitis,? ?five-star,? ?pla-pla? and ?whistlebomb,? all powerful explosives.
The DOH has also warned against tetanus infections and reminded those who received minor injuries from firecrackers to thoroughly wash their wounds and immediately see a doctor to get antitetanus shots.
Every year, the DOH campaigns against the use of all kinds of firecrackers during the New Year celebration, urging parents not to let their children play with them?including the deceptively harmless ?luces? (sparklers) which has caused many eye injuries due to the very hot sparks they emit.