Philippines shanty town fires leave more than 15,000 homeless

A large fire sweeps through a slum in Manila late on Wednesday, bringing mass devastation to families living there.VIDEO: REUTERS
Residents search for their belongings and valuables in the rubble of their destroyed houses after a fire engulfed hundreds of shanties at a community of informal settlers in Catmon, Malabon city on Feb 9, 2017.
Residents search for their belongings and valuables in the rubble of their destroyed houses after a fire engulfed hundreds of shanties at a community of informal settlers in Catmon, Malabon city on Feb 9, 2017. PHOTO: REUTERS

MANILA (REUTERS) - Residents of two Manila slums picked through the rubble of their gutted homes on Thursday (Feb 9) after fires swept through parts of the Philippine capital this week, leaving more than 15,000 people homeless.

More than 750 families lost their homes in the shanty town of Malabon after a fire burned for six hours on Wednesday night, officials said.

Edna Purios said the fire spread so quickly her family fled without their belongings.

Purios, who lived with six of her children and three grandchildren, said the local government should help the community rebuild.

"Our only wish is to get some help with repairing our house because we have nowhere to sleep," she told Reuters Television.

There were no injuries reported in Malabon, fire investigator Alvino Torres said.

Seven people were hurt on Tuesday night when a fire raged for 10 hours in the shanty town of Tondo near the city's docks.

About 15,000 people were left homeless and were temporarily sheltered in evacuation centres, and their belongings, like television sets, washing machines and clothes were left on a major road, blocking trucks hauling containers at the port.

Only a week ago a worker was killed and more than 100 injured in a fire at factory south of the capital.

Fires are common in factories and shanty towns in Manila, one of the most populated cities in the world. In 2015, 74 workers were killed when they were trapped in a slipper factory north of the capital.