More than 240 people were hurt by fireworks during the first two weeks of December in Colombia, according to the National Health Institute, as numbers of injuries rise every year during this season with pyrotechnics being part of Christmas tradition.
While the reported number of 244 cases is lower than last year’s 322 for the same time period, this does not indicate a relief as the numbers are preliminary and can vary because results from local authorities are still missing, according to a report of the National Health Institute on Thursday.
More than one third (99) 0f the 244 cases reported between December first and 13th occurred in Colombia’s northwestern department of Antioquia, followed by the Valle de Cause department with 20 cases (8%), according to the notification.
Most of the injuries caused by the inappropriate use of fireworks were burnings, affecting mostly fingers, hands and eyes; 32 cases were so severe that amputations had to be done, involving 12 minors. A 19 year old man was reported dead in the Antioquia department after sufferring fatal injuries caused by fireworks.
According to the National Health Institution quoted by national newspaper El Espectador on Thursday, there are three main causes for the high number of injuries caused by inadequate use of fireworks: unrestricted availability of pyrotechnics, lack of knowledge about the danger of Category 1 fireworks, which may ignite clothing and cause burnings, and finally the lack of distance when setting them off.
- La pólvora y la cultura colombiana (El Espectador)
- BOLETÍN DE VIGILANCIA INTENSIFICADA (1 DE DICIEMBRE 2013 AL 17 DE ENERO 2014) (National Health Institute Report)