Philippines braces for bloody New Year celebrations
MANILA (AFP) - The Philippines braced on Sunday for its annual orgy of New Year's Eve merrymaking which leaves hundreds of people maimed by firecrackers or shot by bullets fired in the air by armed revellers.
A total of 164 people have been injured by fireworks since the Christmas weekend, half of them in Manila, while one person was wounded by a stray bullet, according to the health department.
President Benigno Aquino interrupted his Christmas holidays to meet with emergency services officials on government preparations for mass casualties, fires, and other potential mayhem from the often drunken revelry.
The government reported 454 firecracker-related injuries from hospitals across the country as 2012 was welcomed, many of them children and drunk adults who ignored government warnings.