Manila: Stray bullets and exploding firecrackers have killed two and injured hundreds in the Philippines, authorities said today, amid the country's traditional riotous New Year celebrations.
A drunk man died after he embraced a giant firecracker, called "Goodbye Philippines", as it was about to explode, health secretary Janet Garin told reporters.
"His jaw was shattered. He was so intoxicated he hugged the Goodbye Philippines," Garin said, adding the man was pronounced dead at the hospital.
Eighty percent of the country's 100 million people are Catholic but Filipino superstition dictates making ear-shattering noises during New Year's Eve to ward off bad luck.
Revellers set off firecrackers and shoot guns into the air to celebrate the December festive season.
The health department listed 380 injuries due to fireworks and four others due to stray bullets.
In many hospitals across the country, firecracker victims rushed into emergency rooms grimacing in pain as they held their bloodied limbs.
An eight-year-old boy in the northern farming province of Nueva Vizcaya had three of his fingers amputated after a firecracker exploded in his hands, Garin said. At least nine children had their fingers amputated due to firecracker injuries, she said.
In a Manila shantytown, a lit firecracker started a slum inferno, which quickly spread, fire bureau spokesman Renato Marcial told AFP.
The 384 injuries recorded so far for 2015 are up from 354 in 2014.