500 hurt in 2012 parties in Philippines


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The Independent Online

Firecrackers and gunfire injured nearly 500 people in the Philippines as revellers welcomed the new year in one of the world's most raucous and dangerous celebrations.

The Health Secretary, Enrique Ona, said the number of injuries – 454 from firecracker blasts and 18 from stray bullets – was slightly lower than last year but remained alarming.

Injured revelers, including many children, filled hospital emergency rooms in the capital shortly after midnight. Adding to the chaos, two gangs clashed in front of Manila's main government hospital attending to the injured, leaving one man dead from a gunshot wound. 

Firecrackers ignited at least three fires that destroyed several houses in the capital area. 

"Again, it seems our appeal to mothers to keep their children away from firecrackers wasn't effective," Ona told a news conference.