As the sun set on Achoura eve, the atmosphere in Moroccan neighborhoods took on an electrifying buzz. The excitement built, with children eagerly anticipating the moment when they could light up firecrackers and witness the spectacle of flashing lights and loud bangs.
Despite the ban on firecrackers, these small explosive devices found their way into the hands of children and adolescents, transforming the festival into a dangerous affair.
Footage taken on Achoura in different Moroccan cities showd groups of young people gathered in the streets, laughing and cheering with anticipation as they took turns lighting the fuses, sending sparks flying in all directions.
In the captured videos, fires blazed in the middle of the streets, lit up using car tires, while few women attempted to put them out.
In an incident during the commemorative festivities of Achoura, a 17-year-old minor lost his life near Sttat and another was left severely injured in an explosion caused by a small gas cylinder.
According to local authorities, the explosion occurred when a group of individuals, including several minors, gathered around 11:00 PM and set fire to tires.
These recurring incidents bring to the surface the changes that have occurred in the observance of religious festivals, including Achoura.
The danger lies not only in the reckless manner of ignition but also in the proximity to bystanders. Young participants lit firecrackers mere feet away from their friends, disregarding the safety of those around them.
In the midst of the jubilation, there were occasional sparks that shot dangerously close to the onlookers, causing moments of panic. Yet, these near-misses were brushed aside as a part of the exhilarating experience. The adrenaline-fueled atmosphere masked the underlying dangers, leaving little room for caution.
Despite repeated warnings from authorities and medical professionals, the allure of firecrackers proves irresistible to many.
The accessibility of these products, most of which are ‘Made in China,’ at low prices, presents a disconcerting reality as they often fail to comply with international safety standards.
The consequences of this perilous practice are evident in the increasing number of firework-related injuries, with children and young adolescents being the most affected, and a clear male predominance.
According to recent studies, firecrackers are the primary offending mechanism, accounting for 42.9% of reported cases, followed by ball guns responsible for 17% of injuries. It is essential to highlight the potential severity of these injuries, with some pistols launching beads at high speed, causing significant eye damage in the form of wounds.
Upon hospital admission, patients’ clinical presentations vary, from burns to ocular wounds, emphasizing the urgent need for stringent safety measures to curb these alarming trends.
The medical data from The National Center for Biotechnology Information reveals a sobering reality. The injuries suffered by children during Achoura celebrations range from burns to ocular damage. The young victims endure pain and suffering, with some experiencing deep and permanent visual loss, forever altering their lives.