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Fire leaves 4,000 families homeless

A huge fire that engulfed a sprawling shanty-town just south of the Philippine capital left around 4,000 poor families homeless on Saturday, an official said.

world Updated: May 15, 2010 11:11 IST

A huge fire that engulfed a sprawling shanty-town just south of the Philippine capital left around 4,000 poor families homeless on Saturday, an official said.

The six-hour blaze started at a store selling liquefied petroleum gas tanks in the heart of the slum area in suburban Muntinlupa city south of Manila, mayor Aldrin San Pedro said.

"Approximately 4,000 families have been left homeless," San Pedro said. "We were able to contain the fire and luckily there were no casualties."

"This is a huge squatter area. Houses were made of light material, so the fire quickly spread."

It was not immediately clear how many people were left homeless, but would likely be more than 20,000.

Manila is one of the world's biggest cities with a population of 12 million, about 35 percent of whom live in slums where they are highly vulnerable to diseases and fires, according to the World Health Organization.