Boy loses fingers as firecracker injury cases rise to 115

Gaea Katreena Cabico - Philstar.com
Boy loses fingers as firecracker injury cases rise to 115
A boy injured by a firecracker is treated at the Jose Reyes Memorial Medical Center in Manila early on January 1, 2013, after new year's celebrations. The Philippines is mainly Roman Catholic but the celebrations draw on ancient superstitions and Chinese traditions in which the noise from firecrackers is meant to drive away evil spirits and bring good luck in the coming year. Adding to the danger of annual fireworks celebrations in the streets, there are over 1.2 million unlicensed firearms in the Philippines and some of those are used in the festivities.
AFP / Noel Celis

MANILA, Philippines — Eight more people, including a boy who was forced to undergo amputation, were injured by firecrackers, the Department of Health reported on New Year's Eve.

All eight individuals were males, aged four to 37, and most sustained injuries at home and on the streets. 

The DOH said that five of the additional injuries were due to illegal firecrackers. Nearly all victims were directly involved in lighting them.

A four-year-old boy from Central Luzon lost all five fingers on his right hand and suffered neck injuries after lighting a "dart bomb," an illegal firecracker, at home. 

"The DOH is seriously concerned how such deadly and illegal fireworks are able to reach the hands of young children," the health department said as it urged the police to intensify efforts in cracking down on the sale of illegal fireworks. 

The department has logged 115 fireworks-related injuries as of Sunday. Most of the cases were reported in Metro Manila (44), followed by Central Luzon and Ilocos region (13 each), Soccsksargen (nine), Calabarzon (six), and Cagayan Valley, Bicol region and Western Visayas (five each).

Almost all incidents happened at home and on the streets, primarily involving males who actively lit the fireworks.

The most common culprits identified were boga, 5-star, kwitis, piccolo, luces, pla-pla, whistle bomb, and other unlabeled or imported firecrackers. 

"Illegal fireworks are to blame for about six out of every 10 cases," the DOH said.

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