By Libya Herald staff.
Tripoli, 4 January 2015:
More than 400 people in Tripoli alone were seriously injured by fireworks set off to . . .[restrict]celebrate the Prophet’s birthday, and needed hospital treatment.
Over 70 people were admitted to hospital requiring digit amputations, having blown off fingers or parts of fingers, and two patients had to have hands amputated, according to the Tripoli-based news agency LANA. Those who lost fingers included women and children.
Most of the rest of the injured were cases of burns or eye injuries. More than 80 people suffered from serious burns to the face and hands, a hospital spokesperson said, with three of these so severe that the patients were placed in intensive care.
These figures show that scant attention was paid to a recent government initiative to raise awareness of the dangers of fireworks, which involved the distribution of leaflets urging Tripolitanians to celebrate the Prophet’s birthday without the use of fireworks.
Tripoli residents reported hearing hours of non-stop fireworks on the eve of the Prophet’s birthday with celebrations continuing the following day. One local resident said he had seen young people recklessly letting off rockets out of car windows in residential areas and throwing lit catherine wheels on the ground in crowded places.
Zliten hospital said it received 14 serious cases of injuries caused by both fireworks and firecrackers. These included seven children who had to have fingers amputated.
The director of medical affairs at Zliten hospital said that the last few years had seen an increase in the number of people brought into hospital with fireworks-related injuries. He added that this was due to large quantities of powerful fireworks being imported from Asia without proper supervision by the relevant Libyan authorities.
Fireworks continue to pose a hazard across the country. A serious fire in a central Tripoli fireworks store last week destroyed half a block of a busy market street. [/restrict]