London fire: Number of dead and missing rises to 79, police say

Pierre Vaugeois
Juin 19, 2017

"As of this morning, I'm afraid to say there are now 79 people that we believe are either dead or missing and I sadly have to presume are dead", police commander Stuart Cundy told reporters.

Cundy said there may have been other people in the tower that police are not aware of, which would add to the final death toll.

The Prime Minister has become the target of anger over her response to the disaster, which has left 58 people presumed dead. An updated figure is expected to be announced today.

Of the 58, he said the number of confirmed fatalities in Wednesday's inferno remains at 30.

Prime Minister Theresa May met Saturday at 10 Downing Street with the families of some of the victims, along with volunteers and community leaders from the North Kensington neighbourhood where the building caught fire.

"We heard the children screaming, I can remember one kid's voice that was higher pitched than all the others. But we need to make sure that that actually happens".

May on Saturday chaired a meeting on the government's response to the fire.

Activists and local residents held demonstrations at the borough's town hall, London's Oxford Street, the United Kingdom home office, the BBC, and the prime minister's official residence at Number 10 Downing Street to vent their frustrations.

Cundy also said the London Fire Brigade searched "every floor of the building" and recovered 16 bodies, but added it may take weeks for the search and recovery operation to become "significant".

May who has promised £5 million ($6.4 million, 5.7 million euros) for emergency supplies, food and clothing, has also announced a judge-led inquiry into the disaster. "I absolutely get why they're angry", Green said.

There was also an outpouring of generosity from the public with many people donating money, provisions and clothes.

It comes after Mrs May avoided speaking to the protestors who gathered outside Kensington Town Hall on Friday night to demand answers about the tragic fire.

London has a chronic housing shortage even in the best of times, and those left homeless by the fire - already angry over what they see as government inequity and incompetence - fear being forced out of the British capital.

"It is hard to escape a very sombre national mood", the world's oldest and longest-reigning monarch said in a message on her official birthday. "The country has witnessed a succession of bad tragedies".

"Sadly we can now formally identify the first victim who lost their life".

Such a direct message from the monarch is rare and indicated the extent of the turmoil in Britain.

Ronnie King, the UK's former chief fire officer, told Al Jazeera: "I wouldn't wish to denigrate those who installed the cladding because - whatever the cladding was - it did not have to be fire resistant under the building regulations", said King.

Earlier on Friday, the prime minister spent nearly an hour speaking to patients and staff at London's Chelsea and Westminster Hospital.

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