THE New Year revelry was less bloody this year as the Department of Health (DOH) reported that 351 people were injured by firecrackers since December 21, vastly lower than the number of injuries tallied for the same period in 2013 and the five-year average from 2009 to 2013.
“There is a reduction of 39 percent in comparison to last year. It is also 31 percent lower than the previous five year annual average of 511 injuries per year for that period,” DOH Acting Secretary Janette Loreto-Garin said in a news briefing on Thursday at the East Avenue Medical Center (EAMC) in Quezon City.
She added that there were 578 cases of firecracker-related injuries in 2013.
Of the 351 reported injuries, 346 or 98.5 percent were caused by fireworks explosion, two from ingestion. Three persons were injured by stray bullets.
Garin attributed the decline to the massive anti-firecracker campaign of the government in collaboration with the media and local government units (LGUs).
“Mas maraming Pilipino ang nakonsensya ngayon, at sila ay nagdesisyon pabor sa kanilang kaligtasan [More Filipinos listened to their conscience and decided that their safety is more important],” she said.
The DOH chief noted that 14 of the injury cases necessitated amputation, up from the eight cases last year.
She said the rise in amputations can be attributed to two factors—use of firecrackers by more children and sale of cheap fireworks especially piccolo.
“Since the hands of children are too small in handling firecrackers, they are prone to damage in explosions,” Garin explained.
Most of the injuries were blamed on the use of piccolo at 166 or 49 percent, while 35 cases were attributed to the use of kwitis (skyrockets), sparklers, 21, and Five Star, 12.
Most of the injuries came from the National Capital Region (Metro Manila) with 168 or 48 percent. Of the total number of injured, 91 were children less than 10 years old.
Garin said 234 got injured because they handled the firecrackers themselves while 112 were bystanders.
She added that cases of injuries caused by stray bullets dropped from 11 last year to three cases this year.
“The good news is that stray bullets cases dropped to 73 percent and we thank the Philippine National Police [PNP] and Department of Interior and Local Government [DILG] for the massive campaign [against firing guns during the Christmas season],” Garin said.
She, however, added that the count on the total number of injuries is not yet final and may rise since other reports from the 50 sentinel hospitals (both public and private hospitals where most victims of firework-related injuries usually seek treatment) are still being verified.
Garin advised those injured to get their anti-tetanus shots in hospitals right away.