Philippines fireworks leave 413 people injured

More than 400 people were hurt by powerful fireworks and gunfire in New Year’s Eve celebrations in the Philippines – down 17 per cent from a year earlier, but still high enough to make it one of Asia’s most violent parties to welcome 2013.

Health secretary Enrique Ona said yesterday the 413 wounded included a seven-year-old girl hit in the head by a stray bullet fired at the height of New Year’s celebrations in Caloocan city in metropolitan Manila. She is fighting for her life.

“The bullet’s still embedded in her head,” Mr Ona said. “It looks like she may not be saved.”

Many Filipinos believe that noisy New Year’s celebrations drive away evil and misfortune. But they have carried that superstition to extremes, exploding huge fireworks and firing guns.