London fire: Government staff drafted to help victims

Claudine Rigal
Juin 19, 2017

May, who on Thursday met emergency services at the fire site but did not meet locals, visited residents, volunteers and community leaders at a nearby church on Friday and was rushed away afterwards by police as an angry crowd outside shouted "Coward" and "You're not wanted". So far, all residents who have asked for help have been placed in hotels and Kensington and Chelsea council is giving them financial help, as well as trying to temporary homes for them as well as for the elderly and vulnerable residents from surrounding areas who have been unable to return to their homes due to the safety cordon. "It's because that tower was such an eyesore for these people in very expensive houses just opposite", she said.

Protesters marched to the edge of the police cordon around the tower, shouting "no justice, no peace", where a few young men tried unsuccessfully to break through.

As the victims of the fire entered the Downing Street, hundreds of demonstrators had gathered in Whitehall to protest against the prime minister.

The five million pounds are to be used to cover emergency supplies, funeral costs and loss of possessions, Efe news reported. Mr Barwell lost his bid for re- election to Parliament and is now Mrs May's chief of staff.

Residents had long complained about fire safety risks at Grenfell Tower during a refurbishment project completed previous year, but said their concerns went unheeded.

On Friday evening, May was interviewed by Emily Maitlis on the BBC programme "Newsnight" where she sidestepped questions over whether she misread the public mood and anger over the Grenfell fire as well as what her personal response is - leading to more criticism of being called "robotic" and "cold".

She promised residents would be rehoused within three weeks, and rejected accusations that the government failed to act on recommendations to tighten fire regulations after a fatal block fire in London in 2009. The area surrounding the council-owned tower has been plastered by desperate relatives with pictures of missing people, from grandparents to young children, and large numbers of volunteers assisting the survivors.

Earlier, Commander Cundy said of the death toll: "I'd like to hope that it isn't going to be triple figures".

"It's really irritating why they prettied up the tower".

More than 100 people stormed the town hall Friday in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea with a list of demands following the devastating tower block fire.

For resident Soran Karimi, 31, who lives in the block opposite, it was nothing short of "murder" and "people should be prosecuted for this".

The protesters chanted: "We want justice", "bring them out" and "shame on you".

On Saturday, NHS England said 19 people were being treated in hospital, including 10 in critical care.

The fire forced residents to flee through black smoke down the single stairwell, jump out of windows or even drop their children from the building.

Mohammed Alhajali, who was 23 and a civil engineering student, was the first victim to be named.

Amongst the dead was artist Khadija Saye, whose photography is now being exhibited at the Vienna Biennale.

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