Firecracker-related injuries rise to 185
MANILA, Philippines – The number of firecracker-related incidents nationwide has increased close to 200 as of Thursday afternoon, December 31.
Officials said 185 people have been treated for blast-related or gunshot injuries and one person has been shot dead since December 21, when the mostly-Catholic country launched into two weeks of holidays and merrymaking. (READ: Stray bullet kills 9-year-old girl in Bulacan)
Revellers traditionally set off firecrackers, including potentially deadly types with names like "Goodbye Philippines," and shoot guns into the air to celebrate the festive season. (READ: No firecrackers! Palace urges Filipinos to greet New Year with noisemakers)
"Our hospitals stand ready with manpower and equipment to deal with any unusual upsurge of casualties," health department spokesman Lyndon Lee Suy told AFP.
Police said 5 civilians, a soldier, and a policeman were arrested for illegally firing their guns.
The annual tide of New Year injuries dropped in 2014, with 351 people hurt by fireworks and three hit by stray bullets, the lowest in five years. (READ: Nearly 600 injured in New Year revelry)
However, the number of people who had to undergo amputations rose to 14 from 8, including a 5-year-old boy who lost his hand.
In the 2013 celebrations, at least two people were killed and 793 others were left injured.
Many Filipino civilians keep licensed guns in their homes to protect themselves in a high-crime society and most firecrackers are legal. – Rappler.com