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31 kids turn victims

R. Sujatha
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Three patients may lose eyesight

For children, Deepavali with the profusion of crackers and sweets, is a highlight of the year.

Unfortunately, it is also a time when a spree of accidents, usually cracker-related, occurs and children bear the brunt of injuries. This year, the final number of casualties is yet to be tabulated by fire service personnel.

But hospital authorities in the city say over 30 children have been treated for injuries that occurred during the celebrations.

One child and two adults may also lose their sight.

Authorities at the Government Ophthalmic Hospital in Egmore said 17 children were treated for eye injuries on Tuesday alone.

Thirty-three adults were also treated on the same day.

Doctors said most of the injured were unsuspecting bystanders or those walking on the road when a lit cracker fell on them.

Six people are being treated as in-patients and doctors fear that three of them, including a child, might lose their eyesight. 17 more people were treated on Wednesday too.

One of the injured was Poonguzhali (name changed), who was walking down the road when a lit firecracker burst nearby, injuring her eye on Wednesday evening. A police constable nearby was also injured.

“Most of the patients experience only a flash of light. It is only later they realise they are injured,” said hospital director K. Maragatham.

At the Burns Ward in Government Kilpauk Hospital (KMC), 14 children have been treated for cracker-related injuries since November 1. Most of them sustained injuries to their hands and legs due to misfiring ‘flowerpots’ or crackers bursting in their hands.

Meanwhile, officials of the Tamil Nadu Fire and Rescue Services are still collecting information on the number and nature of incidents. The data currently available suggests that nearly 420 persons were injured during the festival across the State. Around 60 of these casualties occurred in south Chennai and 13 in the suburbs. One of the major reasons for injuries was ‘rockets’ that misfired.

“We have sent our personnel to the major hospitals to gather information about injuries,” a senior fire service department official said.

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