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WC records highest number of festive season fatalities in 4 years

Emergencies increased by eight percent between 4 December and 13 January.

WC EMS injury and incident statistics for the 2015/2016 festive season were released today. Picture: Vumani Mkhize/EWN.

CAPE TOWN - Western Cape Emergency Medical Services (EMS) has reported the highest number of festive season fatalities in four years.

Health MEC Nomafrench Mbombo today released the EMS injury and incident statistics for the 2015/2016 festive season.

Emergencies have increased by eight percent between 4 December and 13 January.

MEC Mbombo says alcohol abuse was a significant factor in many of the incidents, especially road accidents.

"We have to go back to the communities and see how to tackle alcohol from the community perspective beyond, or in addition to, the legal aspect of it."

Provincial Forensic Pathology Services' Director Vonita Thompson says it's disheartening to see an increase despite government intervention programmes.

"Despite all of the efforts and the real work being done, we still don't seem to be able to have an impact on behaviour."

The health MEC says most injuries were the result of interpersonal violence.

Most EMS incidents during the festive season were for interpersonal violence, which includes domestic violence, with over 14, 500 cases.

Between December 2015 and January, provincial emergency medical services dealt with more than 17, 500 incidents.