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 yesterday.
“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 said that between 9,000 and 15,000 people from the area, which is hit by fires almost every year, were left homeless.
At daylight thousands of people gathered on surrounding streets, warily guarding the belongings they had managed to salvage in the chaos while they waited for food and other aid to arrive. Temporary evacuation centres have been set up at nearby gyms and schools.
The Manila fire department said such fires were common in the city’s densely populated slums where many residents still use candles to light their homes. Nearly a quarter of Manila’s 13mn residents live in slums due to poverty and a shortage of low-cost housing, studies have found.
LEAVE A COMMENT Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked*
Indonesians mourn governor's son found dead in Swiss river
Indonesia summons India envoy over 'derogatory' Prophet remarks
Cambodia ruling party scores landslide local poll win
New Australia PM, Indonesia president ride bikes as diplomatic wheels turn
Volcano erupts in the Philippines
Beijing to relax Covid curbs in some areas from Sunday
Victoria's Secret pays $8.3m settlement to sacked Thai workers
Seven people killed as fire engulfs ferry in Philippines
Seven killed after fire engulfs Philippine ferry