Manila man dies after hugging lit firecracker

A drunk man died after he embraced a giant firecracker called Goodbye Philippines as it was about to explode, said Health Secretary Janet Garin.

"His jaw was shattered. He was so intoxicated (that) he hugged the Goodbye Philippines," she said.

Another person was killed by stray bullets as guns were fired as part of the New Year celebrations.

Eighty per cent of the population are Catholic, but Filipino superstition dictates making ear-shattering noises on New Year's Eve to ward off bad luck and New Year celebrations are generally riotous.

The health department listed 380 injuries due to fireworks and four 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.

In a Manila shantytown, a lit firecracker started a slum inferno, which quickly spread, fire bureau spokesman Renato Marcial told AFP.

The blaze destroyed a cramped maze of wood and cardboard huts in the early hours of Friday, leaving 3,000 people homeless.

Panicked and weeping residents fled their burning homes carrying clothes and furniture while men, many of whom were drunk from a night of merrymaking, desperately tried to put out the fire with buckets of water, an AFP photographer at the scene saw.

A 65-year-old woman died from a heart attack as she watched her house burn.

Many Filipino civilians keep licensed guns in their homes to protect themselves in a high-crime society and most firecrackers are legal and easily available.

The 384 injuries recorded so far for 2015 are up from 354 in 2014.

Source: AFP