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Philippines: Manila shanty town fire leaves 15,000 homeless


Philippines

Philippines: Manila shanty town fire leaves 15,000 homeless

A massive fire has swept through a crowded shanty town in the Filipino capital Manila, leaving some 15,000 people homeless.

The fire spread rapidly after it broke out late on Tuesday night, raging for 10 hours as it engulfed more than 1,000 houses leaving them gutted, according to fire department officials.

Despite that, no fatalities and only a handful of injuries were reported.

“There was an explosion and the fire started. Firefighters did not enter the compound, they were just looking around (when they arrived), they did not want to enter, that is why the fire lasted until the morning,” said 33-year-old Anna Cabrera, a victim of the fire.

At first sight a view of one crowded street resembled a busy market. In fact the people there had been made homeless from the fire, and had been forced out into the streets with what was left of their belongings.

A welfare officer has been quoted as saying three evacuation centres have been opened, with food and water provided for people who lost their homes.

Fires are common in factories and shanty towns in the Philippines, and Manila is one of the world’s most populated cities.