MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Two days before the firecracker-packed New Year’s eve, cases of firework-related injuries in the country have reached 165 as of Saturday, December 29, the Department of Health (DOH) reported.
According to the surveillance report of the agency’s “Aksyon: Paputok Injury Reduction (APIR)” campaign, 164 were injured by firecrackers, and one was hit by a stray bullet.
The total figure is a big jump from the initial two that were reported when the monitoring began on December 21. However, it is lower compared to the 197 cases recorded during the December 21 to 29, 2011 period.
No fatality has been reported yet, in the meantime. Out of the total number of victims, 5 reportedly underwent amputation due to serious blast injuries, and 27 sustained eye injuries.
Half or 49.7% of the cases recorded so far occurred in the National Capital Region (NCR). Only Region 4-B (MIMAROPA) has not reported any firework-related injury.
Hospitals in NCR that registered the most cases are Jose Memorial Medical Center (15 cases), East Avenue Medical (13 cases), and Mandaluyong City Medical Center (11 cases).
Most of the victims were injured by “piccolo,” the same firecracker that injured the most number of people in 2011, according to the DOH report.
In 2011, a total of 1,021 injuries were recorded through the APIR campaign. Of these cases, 987 were firework-related and 29 were stray bullet injuries. Five were hospitalized after ingesting firecrackers.
Amputation was required in 58 cases, while 131 cases involved eye injuries.
Three people died due to firework accidents last year, and one was killed by a stray bullet.
In an earlier interview, National Epidemiology Center director Enrique Tayag said they are hoping not to see the same figures in 2011, or else they will consider recommending a partial or total fireworks ban.
Tayag added that they are expecting the number of reported cases to increase on December 31 and January 1.
Safety of children
Based on the DOH record, the “most affected” age group consists of children aged 6 to 10. The agency said 97 of those injured by piccolo are children.
Because of this, DOH director for Metro Manila Eduardo Janairo strongly advised parents to keep their children away from fireworks on New Year’s eve.
“Parents should be held accountable if their children become victims of fireworks injury. They must be the first to educate them about the dangers of playing around with fireworks and to warn them of its consequences,” he said.
Janairo urged everyone “to be responsible and be concerned with safety” especially since most firework-related injuries happen at home and nearby surroundings. “It is best to watch a community fireworks display or better yet to celebrate at home to avoid any injury,” he said. – Rappler.com
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