288 dead, over 1,000 injured over Thingyan: ministry

Thingyan 2012. Photo: Flickr / Theis Kofoed Hjorth
Thingyan 2012. Photo: Flickr / Theis Kofoed Hjorth

At least 288 deaths and 1,000 injuries were reported across Myanmar during this year’s Thingyan festivities, according to the Ministry of Information.

While the ministry insisted that only 30 of those deaths could be directly related to New Year festivities, the grim tally has become an annual certainty amid excessive drinking, road accidents and fighting between party-goers and revelers.

Coconuts Yangon confirmed with Yangon General Hospital (YGH) that about 800 people were admitted there alone, with most of the holiday-related admissions related to traffic accidents, fights and dehydration. Six people were also pronounced dead at YGH over the holiday.

“There were more people admitted this year compared to last year, but we were prepared and staffed to take care of the influx of patients,” an attending doctor told Coconuts Yangon.

However, a tally of nearly 800 people at Mandalay General Hospital, courtesy of state mouthpiece The Global New Light of Myanmar, suggests the overall number of injured may be even higher.

“Most of them got injured in vehicle mishaps, especially accidents involving motorcycles. Six out of nine that were brought dead were killed in a vehicle accident, while two lost their lives after a heated quarrel, and one woman drowned in the moat [around the grand palace],” U Min Lwin, a spokesman with the Ministry of Health, told the paper.

Police who spoke with Coconuts Yangon suggested any discrepancy in numbers could likely be chalked up to underreporting of incidents by the public.

Compared with last year, deaths ticked up slightly, from 285 last year to 288 this year. Another 2,700 people were arrested on drugs and weapons charges this year, according to authorities.

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