|A haul of illegal firecrackers seized by police in the northern border province of Cao Bằng in late January as smuggling of firecrackers increased in the lead up to Tết (Lunar New Year). — VNA/VNS Photo|
HÀ NỘI — As many as 313 people were hospitalised due to incidents involving firecracker during the nine days of Tết (Lunar New Year), nearly doubling last year’s figure, according to health authorities.
The Medical Services Administration under the Ministry of Health said that this year, the number of people treated for injuries associated with firecrackers soared by 42.2 per cent, but with no reported deaths from the 28th day of the twelfth month of the previous lunar year (February 2) to the sixth day of the new lunar year (February 9).
The number of incidents was already high before New Year’s Day, with the spike naturally falling on the night of New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, it said.
Many were hospitalised in critical condition, with the prime example being a male patient from the northeastern city of Hải Phòng who was making homemade fireworks when the chemical substances exploded two days prior to New Year’s day.
Đỗ Văn T., 25 years old, lost both his hands and suffered severe injuries to the jaw, widespread burns and trauma to the chest area, several shallow wounds on both of his legs, in addition to critical blood loss.
In the capital city of Hà Nội however, the municipal health department recorded no firework incidents during the entire length of the holiday.
HCM City’s hospitals, on the other hand, received a total of 21 cases in the first six days of the Tết holiday, with New Year’s Eve being the day with highest number of emergencies.
On the first day of the Lunar New Year, police of the Kỳ Anh Township in the central province of Hà Tĩnh arrested and fined 50 people for lighting firecrackers, followed by another 45 arrests in Nghi Xuân District.
In 1994, Việt Nam’s Government issued a country-wide ban on the use, production, purchase and storage of firecrackers during Tết, one of the long-standing traditions.
However, despite annual crackdowns and increased efforts to discourage the practice, firecrackers still streamed into Việt Nam via illegal routes (mostly smuggled from China where firecrackers are still largely legal, except in urban areas) and remained quite popular in rural and mountainous areas.
During the holiday, nearly 3,300 people were admitted with complaints of food poisoning and digestive disorders, accounting for 1 per cent of total hospitalisation cases.
The majority of the cases, 817 out of 3,281, were related to alcohol poisoning, a serious concern in Việt Nam as ‘fake wine’ using highly toxic but cheap methanol instead of the safer ethanol is rampant.
This was followed by food poisoning from homemade dishes with 738 cases.
Tết brawls declined compared to last year, with a total of 5,303 requiring emergency treatment due to violence, resulting in more than half of them having to remain in hospital for days while 15 were killed, the Medical Services Administration said. — VNS