Archive for the ‘injury’ Category

More grim news in Italy’s earthquake

April 8, 2009

The rising death toll in the recent earthquake which hit central Italy had gone up to 272 people dead along with 15,000 injured victims. About 100 were listed to be in serious condition. Pope Benedict XVI expressed his intention to visit the affected villages and towns to be with the earthquake victims.

Many buildings which include historic ancient edifices, numbering to about 10-15,000, either crumbled or suffered severe damage all across 26 settlements surrounding the city of L Aquila. Amidst sporadic after-shocks, 28,000 people lined the streets to seek food and shelter.

In a report by the National Institute of Geophysicis and Vulcanology prior to the earthquake, many buildings in Italy’s vulnerable zones are in danger of suffering damages when seismic activity strikes. Experts say only 14% of these buildings meet the standards to counter the effect of a significant tremor.(Photo Credits: Garofalo, Alessandro/ Reuters; Perrozi, Sandro/ AP) =0=

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Lance Armstrong fractures a collarbone in a cycling race in Spain

March 23, 2009

Seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong joined Spain’s Vuelta of Castilla and Leon, a race held on March 22, 2009, but was tossed in a bike pile-up which caused him injury—- a fracture on right collar-bone. Falling from his bike about 12.5 miles from the first stage finish, the 37-year old cyclist was helped by an ambulance which brought him to the hospital.

“The collarbone is broken, and I have a little bit of road-rash abrasions,” Armstrong said as he left Valladolid University Hospital. “I’ve never had this happen before; it’s pretty painful. I feel really miserable.”—Lance Armstrong. AP (03/24/409)

The clavicular bone fracture raises the question whether the champion will be well enough to compete in the Tour de France from July 4 to 26. The acclaimed cyclist and cancer survivor said he’ll need to go back to the United States to consult with his doctors. =0=

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11 die in Cavite firecracker factory blast & 100+ Kenyans perished as they tap fuel from a truck

February 3, 2009


There is a horrid parallel between the fire cracker factory blast in the Philippines and the conflagration following an explosion of a gasoline truck in Kenya.

In the Cavite, on Jan 29, 2009, a firecracker factory suddenly exploded killing 11 workers and injuring 60 others. Though the cause of the blast wasn’t immediately known, faulty electrical wiring was suspected. By all probability, there could have been a breach in the safety measures in the production or handling of pyrotechnics. Accidental fires continually burned down similar factories before. The loud blast and ensuing inferno damaged nearby houses and commercial buildings.

The tragedy had been made worse by another blast which occurred the next day in Molo, Kenya. More than 100 people perished and greater than 300 more were either burned or reported missing. A fuel truck caught fire along the road when people tried to scoop free gasoline from the overturned vehicle on January 30, 2009.

“Everybody was screaming and most of them were running with fire on their bodies, they were just running into the bush,” said Charles Kamau, 22, who was driving through Molo, on Saturday night when he saw the road blocked by hundreds of people with gerry cans, plastic bottles and buckets — anything to siphon some free fuel. As he waited for the crowd to disperse, the gasoline ignited with a blast that was felt miles away. Prime Minister Raila Odinga said someone’s cigarette might have caused the explosion.”—-GMA News TV/ AP (02/01/09)

Hundred of miles apart, the two fire incidents speak of the dangers poor people face in order to survive. In the Philippines, the firecracker production is fraught with dangers, but people still do it for the job—so they can earn some money. Current government regulations fail to control the accidents that occur every year in these fireworks production facilities.

In Kenya, the pilferage of fuel from pipes and tanks has resulted to deadly accidental explosions. In 2006, about 200 people died in a gasoline blast. These incidents show how desperate people can go in order to survive. Without improvement of their working and living conditions, more of these accidents are bound to be repeated in the future. Burn injuries are among the most difficult to treat in medical practice. (Photo Credits: Blue_fam; Reuters/ Ranoco,R) =0=

Wowowee, Penafrancia fiesta, & the 229 people injured in the Black Nazarene procession of Quiapo

January 9, 2009

The 13-hour religious parade snaked its way in the city drawing thousands of religious believers to walk in supplication until the revered black icon of Jesus was returned in the Quiapo Church on Friday, January 9, 2009 in Manila. I read there were 229 people who were injured during the procession. I couldn’t help recall the days when such spoiler incidents almost never happened.

As a kid who grew up in Naga City, the Traslacion, a similar feast honoring the Virgin of Penafrancia, was memorably peaceful. Lately however, like the Quiapo spectacle, the traslacion and fluvial procession in Bicol had been getting flak. People had not been as reverential and behaved as before. In September 2008, a rumble, a stone-throwing incident, and hostage-taking emergency in a bus dampened the fiesta in Naga.

Rarely were there scuffles and tramplings that put our limbs at risk in the crowd. That was in the past. Had a melee occured, our parents would have disallowed us into coming close to religious gatherings. We would have stayed at home to pay our private homage to God, in lieu of taking part in a dangerous holiday celebration.

But times have changed. The annual feast of the Black Nazarene in Quiapo has grown so big—almost unmanageable. The faith-based observance have lost part of its sanctity as people of plural intentions join. In spite of the Catholic clergy’s attempt to make the plebeian celebration a simple pious expression of faith, unintended incidents do happen. The open folk tradition of worship and contrition which borders to idolatry (as critics warned) has been marred by melee in a huge crowd with poor control.

People suffering from hypertensive spells and fainting due to excessive heat are getting more common. Difficulty of breathing from asthma has been reported in a number of weary processionistas. Contusions and abrasions caused by pushing and bare-foot walking have brought people rushing to hospital emergency rooms for treatment. The Philippine National Red Cross (PNRC) reports of at least 23 people suspected to have suffered a heart attack. Surely, these are distractions which can be avoided. We need to act smart to prevent a full-blown mayhem.

Before the next Black Nazarene procession turns into a wholesale failure of crowd control— as hideous as the Wowowee stampede in February 2006, those who organize these events must devise a better plan. The Catholic clergy needs to modify the observance of the tradition. Nearly a thousand police officers and 300 PNRC volunteers are not enough to cope with the needs of the tight crowd.

In Wowowee, at least 74 innocent lives were lost in a recklessly planned TV extravaganza, most of them, trampled, brushed aside, and forgotten without the benefit of justice. (Photo Credits: Nesty Ocampo; Bobmani34; Nesty Ocampo) =0=

RELATED BLOG: “Wowowee & the Temple Stampede in Northern India” Posted by mesiamd at 8/04/2008

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Campaign against firecrackers and fireworks

December 31, 2008

A counter-move against the merry tradition of bidding a noisy ending of the year, young students in Manila staged rallies against firecrackers. In a gathering spearheaded by EcoWaste foundation, environment-conscious students in Malate, brought attention to the dangers and polluting effects of firecrackers during the holiday.

In Negros Occidental and Cadiz City, an estimated P300,000 and P100,000 worth of illegal pyrotechnic devices respectively were confiscated by authorities. Similar operations where conducted in various cities all over the country as the new year draws near.

Although the Department of Health (DOH) has made headway in discouraging the use of firecrackers with the use of explicit anti-firecracker ads, hospitals in the country are in “Code White Alert” in anticipation for more people who might need medical attention. More than a hundred injuries have been reported including at least three directly inflicted by gunfire.

The argument against the firecrackers and indiscriminate gunfire at this time is easy to understand, but annually, Filipinos needed to be reminded of the risks and perils. Students and concerned Filipinos standing against firecrackers are helpful in getting this message across. (Photo Credit: Malaya/ Philip Duquiatan) =0=

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