Tuesday, July 25, 2017 | ePaper

58 assumed dead in tower block blaze: Police

  • Print
Reuters :
At least 58 people were likely killed in a fire which engulfed a London tower block earlier this week, police said on Saturday.
If that death toll is confirmed, it would make the Grenfell Tower blaze the deadliest in London since World War Two.
"Sadly at this time, there are 58 people who we have been told were in Grenfell Tower on the night that are missing and therefore sadly I have to assume that they are dead," Commander Stuart Cundy told reporters.
Cundy added that the figure could change. Police had previously put the death toll at 30.
"The figure of 30 that I gave yesterday is the number that I know, sadly, have, at least, died. So that 58 would include that 30," he said.
Prime Minister Theresa May's government earlier sought to quell anger over the fire, pledging to support the victims of the blaze after protesters jeered her when she visited local residents.
Women comfort each other near the Grenfell apartment tower block in North Kensington, London on June 17. Reuters
Women comfort each other near the Grenfell apartment tower block in North Kensington, London on June 17. Reuters
May was rushed away from a meeting with residents on Friday under heavy police guard as protesters shouted "Shame on you" and hundreds stormed a local town hall calling for justice.
After a botched snap election that lost her party its majority in parliament, May is facing criticism for her response to the blaze which engulfed the 24-storey apartment block of social housing on Wednesday.
Residents of the destroyed tower said May was far too slow to visit the stricken community, that the building had been unsafe and that officials have failed to give enough information and support to those who have lost relatives and their homes.
Asked repeatedly whether she had misread the public mood, May did not answer directly but said the focus was on providing support to the victims.
"What I'm now absolutely focused on is ensuring that we get that support on the ground," May said in a BBC Newsnight interview.
"Government is making money available, we're ensuring that we're going to get to the bottom of what's happened, we will ensure that people are rehoused. But we need to make sure that that actually happens."
May on Saturday chaired a meeting on the government's response to the fire. She also met victims of the fire in Downing Street.
Alongside both police and fire investigations into the blaze, she has promised to set up a public inquiry.
A demonstrator shouts during a march in Westminster, following the fire that destroyed the Grenfell Tower block in London on June 16. Reuters
A demonstrator shouts during a march in Westminster, following the fire that destroyed the Grenfell Tower block in London on June 16. Reuters
She also pledged 5 million pounds ($6.39 million) of support, housing guarantees and help with access to bank accounts and cash. Those who lost their homes will be rehoused within three weeks, she said.
One of her closest allies, Damian Green, defended May on Saturday, adding that a team would go to the area to answer questions from residents.
"The Prime Minister is distraught about what has happened," said Green, who was appointed May's deputy in the wake of the general election.
"We're all desperately sad, we're all angry, but of course none of us as angry as those who were directly affected. I absolutely get why they're angry," Green said.
While the blaze has prompted an outpouring of generosity, with many people donating provisions and clothes, it has also unleashed rage at the authorities as the charred tower was cast as a deadly symbol of a deeply divided society.
Angry protesters chanting "We want justice" stormed their way into the Kensington and Chelsea town hall on Friday.
After a turbulent three months which has seen Britain scarred by three deadly Islamist militant attacks and now the tower blaze, Queen Elizabeth said the mood was deeply sombre but that the British people were resolute in the face of adversity.
"It is difficult to escape a very sombre national mood," Elizabeth said in a message on her official birthday.
"The country has witnessed a succession of terrible tragedies.
"Put to the test, the United Kingdom has been resolute in the face of adversity," Elizabeth said. "United in our sadness, we are equally determined, without fear or favour, to support all those rebuilding lives so horribly affected by injury and loss."
Firefighters at the Grenfell Tower block which was destroyed in a disastrous fire in London on June 16. Reuters
Firefighters at the Grenfell Tower block which was destroyed in a disastrous fire in London on June 16. Reuters
Such a direct message from the monarch is rare and indicated the extent of the turmoil in Britain.
Opponents said May's handling of the fire has thrust her position further into doubt by showing a failure to feel the public mood and act decisively.
After a tumultuous week that pitched Britain into its deepest political crisis since the Brexit referendum a year ago, May's future was already uncertain due to her failed gamble on a snap election.
Britain is now likely to go into arduous talks on Monday about its exit from the European Union with a weakened leader who is dependent on a small Northern Irish party.
Matthew Parris, a columnist and former Conservative lawmaker, said May's response to the fire had shown a lack of judgment which made her unsuitable to be prime minister.
"Wallowing in the wash of a general election that stripped our prime minister of her authority on the very eve of EU negotiations, neither common sense nor the evidence suggest she can re-establish public confidence," Parris wrote in the Times.
"This prime minister is not viable."

More News For this Category

Rains, road chaos make life a hell

Rains, road chaos make life a hell

Staff Reporter :Normal life was hit hard by intermittent to heavy downpour in capital Dhaka, port city Chittagong and other parts of country since early Monday.  People in the

NBR raid next month to trace tax-dodger foreigners

Badrul Ahsan :Thousands of foreigners have long been working in different private organizations in the country renewing tourist visa instead of obtaining employment visa, allegedly in connivance with their employers

DMP boss expresses doubt over Siddiqur's injury

Staff Reporter  :Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) commissioner Asaduzzaman Mia on Monday expressed doubt if the injured college student Siddiqur Rahman suffered in his eyes during the police action or it

HC stays holding of DU Senate's spl meet

Court Correspondent :The High Court yesterday stayed the process for holding a special general meeting of Dhaka University (DU) senate which was scheduled to be held on July 29 for

Veg prices on the rise

Staff Reporter :The prices of vegetables are on the rise as incessant monsoon rain and rising floodwater damaged cropland in different districts.For example, the green chilli was selling at between

Victim's Camera Trial Aug 6

banglanews24.com :A Dhaka tribunal on Monday (July 24) deferred the date to August 6 for taking a Camera Trial, an esoteric deposition, from one of the victim girls claimed to

1st Hajj flight with 418 pilgrims reaches Jeddah

1st Hajj flight with 418 pilgrims reaches Jeddah

The first Hajj flight of Biman Bangladesh Airlines carrying 418 Bangladeshi pilgrims took off from Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport in the capital on Monday morning.Civil Aviation and Tourism Minister Rashed

Barisal, Barguna DCs now OSD

Special Correspondent  :In a major development, the Deputy Commissioners of Barisal and Barguna Gazi Md Shafiuzzman and Md Bashirul Alam have withdrawn and made Officers on Special Duty at Public

Siddiqur to be taken abroad for treatment

Staff Reporter :Road Transport and Bridges Minister Obaidul Quader said on Monday that Siddiqur Rahman would be taken abroad for advanced medical treatment for his eye injuries."Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina,

HC commutes death sentence to 2 JMB outfits

Court Correspondent :The High Court Division of the Supreme Court yesterday commuted the death sentences of two activists of banned Islamist outfit Jama'atul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) to life-term imprisonment in