Thursday, 22 June, 2017

London fire: 58 missing presumed dead

Melinda Barton | 20 June, 2017, 02:49

'I must consider the fact that there may be others in the building who, for whatever reason, have not been reported to us.

HOMELESS Grenfell Tower victims will receive at least £5,500 in a Government payout.

Cundy said the death toll may still change, but not as significantly as it has in recent days.

Public anger was mounting as residents and neighbors demanded answers for how the blaze spread so quickly amid reports that contractors installed a cheaper, less flame-resistant type of exterior paneling in a renovation of the Grenfell Tower that ended in May 2016.

The search and recovery operation in the 24-story Grenfell Tower continues, he said, adding that it has been incredibly distressing for families.

Met Police also revealed that the official number of people either dead or missing - now 79 - is expected to rise following searches of the wreckage.

The tragedy destroyed much of the west London apartment block on June 14 and claimed the lives of at least 58 people.

Police Commander Stuart Cundy says police will seek criminal prosecutions if the evidence warrants.

"I want to hear from anyone who believes that they know someone who may have been living, staying or visiting but has not yet been reported missing to us". The figure will be higher but I do not wish to speculate on that number today.

The cause of Wednesday's blaze is still under investigation, but anger has mounted in the community amid reports that exterior paneling used in an extensive renovation completed a year ago may have been banned by United Kingdom rules. He asked anyone who was in the tower and survived to contact police immediately.

Police say the harrowing search for remains had paused Friday because of safety concerns at the blackened tower but has resumed.

"As recent awful events in London and Manchester have brought to light, Blue Light workers do an extremely challenging job, encountering hard and traumatic situations", he said.

While emergency services have been widely praised for their handling of the disaster, the government has been criticised for a slow and inadequate response, with Prime Minister Theresa May facing public anger for failing to meet residents during her first visit to the site. The group left after a meeting that lasted more than two hours but did not speak to reporters gathered outside.

Prime Minister Theresa May has ordered a public inquiry into what caused the apartment that once housed almost 600 people in 120 units, to go up into flames.

The National Health Service said that 17 patients were still being treated in hospital, of whom nine remain in critical condition.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan wrote a letter to May urging her to do more to help provide information to the families of the victims and that identification of those killed could be sped up if the authorities abandoned protocols used after a terrorist attack.

The queen and Philip stood silently before the start of the annual Trooping the Color procession that marks the queen's official birthday.

The 91-year-old monarch said it is "difficult to escape a very somber mood" on what is normally a day of celebration.

He told BBC One's Andrew Marr Show: 'My understanding is the cladding in question, this flammable cladding which is banned in Europe and the USA, is also banned here.