BOGOTA – Traffic accidents accounted for most accidental deaths during the Christmas holiday season in several Latin American countries where, along with other incidents, at least 143 people died and more than 1,300 were injured, reports released by officials show.
The greatest number of deaths and injuries were reported in Brazil, where at least 47 people lost their lives and 575 were injured in traffic accidents on federal highways.
On December 24, 793 accidents were registered along the 66,000 kilometers (40,920 miles) of Brazil’s national highways, according to the Federal Highway Patrol.
In Colombia, the Christmas holidays left at least 15 people dead and 21 injured, police said, adding that during various celebrations seven people were burned by fireworks or gunpowder, including three children.
Despite the tragic tally, between the night of Christmas Eve and dawn on Dec. 25, “there was a reduction of 5 percent in the number of murders, thanks to the restriction on carrying weapons,” police said.
A similar number of deaths occurred in the Dominican Republic, where 14 people died in traffic accidents and 85 others were injured in different incidents.
Although emergency services officials in Argentina reported no deaths, they did say that the number of accidents was rather high, with at least 199 people being treated at different hospitals for injuries caused by fireworks, corks popping out of bottles and road accidents.
The most injuries in Buenos Aires – 47 in all – were sustained by people who were treated at the Santa Lucia ophthalmological hospital for injuries to their eyes due to the use of fireworks and corks that hit them when bottles of champagne, for instance, were opened. Eight of them had to undergo surgery.
Nevertheless, the Buenos Aires Health Ministry said in a statement that there had been “a decrease in the number” of people who required medical attention during the Christmas holidays in the capital, while in the northern city of Tucuman a child lost a finger when a bottle rocket blew up while he was holding it.
A similar situation occurred in Peru, where the fire department said that although no deaths had been reported more than 140 emergencies had been responded to on Christmas Eve, among them four road accidents.
Also, one car crash and one person injured were reported during the Christmas festivities in Mexico City, the Federal District Public Safety Secretariat said.
In Center America, meanwhile, the festivities left several people dead and an undetermined number injured.