Fire in Manila shanty town leaves over a thousand families homeless

More than a thousand families have been left homeless in the Philippines.They are wandering the streets after a massive fire swept through a shanty community in Manila. Authorities say the blaze broke out on Tuesday night. It quickly spread through the neighborhood, leaving one elderly woman dead and three others injured.

"I'm helping my neighbors salvage materials while I'm waiting for someone to help me sell mine tomorrow. Our house was just over there and I'd like to help out if I can," said resident, Robert Toledo.

Marites Bragas says she will probably spend the New Year on the roadside with her four children. She adds, "I'm asking help for me and my neighbors. I hope someone will be willing to help and address our needs".

The bureau of fire blamed a gas leak from a kitchen stove. The local government said the families would be relocated to an evacuation centre. Fires are common in the slum communities of Manila where homes are made of light materials. The fire department says most are due to faulty electrical wiring caused by illegal power connections.