10-hour fire razes 3,200 houses to the ground, leaving 15,000 people homeless
A resident pours water on a fire as it destroys hundreds of houses at an informal settlers community in Delpan, Tondo, Manila. Pic/AFP
Manila: As many as 15,000 people are homeless after a huge fire engulfed an overcrowded slum in Manila, destroying thousands of homes and sending residents fleeing with their few possessions.
The inferno started in a sprawling slum near the port late Tuesday and raged for about 10 hours, as hundreds of firefighters from across the Philippine capital hauled their hoses across rickety, tin roofs to reach the flames.
As the blaze whipped across the squalid area, sending a huge plume of smoke billowing into the night sky, residents ran for their lives carrying refrigerators, religious icons and other valuables. Others, desperate to save their homes, used buckets of water to douse the fire. About 3,200 homes, many made from little more than scrap wood, were destroyed and four people were injured, Edilberto Cruz, a fire investigator looking into the cause of blaze, told reporters Wednesday.
"The houses in that place are all (made of) light materials. That is why the fire was quick to spread. We are just lucky that no one was killed," he said. Manila city government officials told AFP that between 9,000 and 15,000 people from the area, which is hit by fires almost every year, were left homeless.
13m Number of residents in Manila who live in slums due to poverty and shortage of low-cost housing