INTRODUCTION: In Hong Kong, a second big fire this year has destroyed some 800 huts and has left about 6,000 people homeless.
GV PAN Shanties ablaze at Sau Mau Ping. 0.24
LV PAN Fire engines. 0.30
GV ZOOM TO Burning building. 0.38
SV PAN Homeless with salvaged belongings. 0.48
GV PAN UP HILL Fire raging through shanties. (2 SHOTS) 1.14
GV Homeless families loaded onto police trucks. (2 SHOTS) 1.34
GV ZOOM Burnt out remains of hillside. 1.46
GV ZOOM Burnt out shacks. 1.57
GV Temporary shelters at Shamshuipo Refugee Camp. 2.00
SV Homeless families getting out of trucks. 2.06
SV Families being checked in. (2 SHOTS) 2.14
SV People receiving bedding and supplies. 2.26
SV Supplies being unloaded from trucks. 2.30
SV Homeless people in camp. 2.35
Background: HONG KONG
INTRODUCTION: In Hong Kong, a second big fire this year has destroyed some 800 huts and has left about 6,000 people homeless. It has come just six months after another big fire destroyed the homes of 4,000 people last February.
SYNOPSIS: The latest blaze gutted nearly the whole of On Lok village in Sau Mau Ping after raging from six in the evening to well past midnight. The fire spread rapidly because of explosions in many of the huts believed to be caused by domestic gas cylinders blowing up in the intense heat.
The entire Kowloon Mobile Command was pressed into service to help fight the fire which is said to have started when an old woman upset her kerosene stove while cooking an evening meal.
Firemen had difficulty fighting the blaze because they were delayed in their bid to reach it by people pouring down from the stricken area carrying whatever belongings they could salvage. They were also hampered in their efforts to connect their hoses to standpipes up on the hill by the rush of victims escaping the fire. A slight wind helped the fire to spread and as a result of the large area affected firemen had a difficult job getting to the centre to fight the blaze effectively.
Many of the homeless spent the night in a nearby football field but were later moved to the Shamshuipo Refugee Camp which can hold about 5,000. The Housing Department said they may have to stay at the camp until October before they could be re-housed. No one was killed in the fire but three people - a man, a woman and a fireman - were injured. They were taken to hospital where they were treated and discharged.
This was the second big blaze to destroy a squatter area in Hong Kong this year. Last February, more than 4,000 people were made homeless when fire swept through the Tai Hom Wor squatter area in the fourth worst blaze in the country's history. District officials say that 70 per cent of the people affected by the fire are recent immigrants. Some of them lost everything they owned while others were just able to escape with a few articles of clothing. The Social Welfare and Housing department has taken charge of accommodating and feeding the homeless.
Source: REUTERS - GARY LING AND HENRY WONG