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Fire engulfs Philippine slum, thousands homeless

A fire burns through an informal settlers community as it burns hundreds of houses in Delpan, Tondo, Manila on Jan 7, 2017.

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. (AFP)

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