A Philippine official says at least 476 people have been injured by powerful firecrackers and gunfire despite a government scare campaign against dangerous New Year revelries.
Health Secretary Enrique Ona said on Sunday that several flights were diverted or canceled after a dark smog left by a night of firecracker explosions obscured visibility at the Manila airport.
Injured revelers, many of them children writhing in pain, filled hospital emergency rooms shortly after midnight. Ona says 454 were injured by firecrackers, 18 by stray bullets and four by accidentally swallowing small firecrackers or explosive powder.
Ona says the number of injuries is slightly lower than last year's but remains alarming and may still increase as Filipinos continue to celebrate.