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Philippines braces for bloody New Year's

Philippines braces for bloody New Year's

Brandishing a surgical saw on national TV, the health chief warned revelers that amputations often result from firecracker accidents as the Philippines braced Wednesday for a violent New Year's Eve celebration.
Health Secretary Francisco Duque resorted to scare tactics to discourage the use of banned _ but popular _ powerful firecrackers. His department's Web site displays videos of mangled hands and other firecracker-related injuries.
"I have to be aggressive to really show what awaits the hard-headed," Duque told The Associated Press.
Many Filipinos, largely influenced by Chinese tradition, believe that noisy New Year's celebrations drive away evil and misfortune. But they have carried that superstition to extremes, exploding huge firecrackers and firing guns to welcome the new year despite threats of arrest.
Last year, 869 people were hurt, including 14 hit by stray bullets on and before New Year's Eve.
Firecrackers and celebratory gunfire wounded 165 people between Dec. 21 to Dec. 30, including eight victims who lost fingers. Doctors plan to amputate the right hand of a man after it was mangled by a firecracker in central Iloilo province, health officials said.
Duque said he hoped a forecast of rain later Wednesday off the country's east coast and the economic crunch would discourage the sale and use of powerful firecrackers.
Duque ordered 78 government hospitals nationwide to get ready for the expected injuries and toured hospital emergency rooms in Manila to check on preparations.
Sen. Richard Gordon, who heads the local Red Cross, said 2,400 blood bags were ready in case hospitals run out of supplies.
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On the Net:
http://www.doh.gov.ph/kontrapaputok/


Updated : 2021-10-24 09:03 GMT+08:00