Wednesday, May 23, 2018 | 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

Inhumanity of killing our people by our law enforcers is felt deeply as shameful

Eleven more suspected drug peddlers have been killed as the spree of "gunfights" continues amid a countrywide crackdown on narcotics and its dealers. This takes the tally of drug

Govt to redraft Digital Security Act

Staff Reporter :Bangladesh government will be redrafting the Digital Security Act that has drawn flack over fears of gagging free media and freedom of speech.Law Minister Anisul Huq made the

NHRC worried at killings in `gunfights`

Voicing concern over the killings of suspected drug traders in reported gunfights with members of law enforcement agencies across the country, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) on Tuesday said

Crackdown spree on drug peddlers 11 more killed in 'shootouts'

Staff Reporter  :As the nationwide crackdown on drug and its dealers continues, 11 more suspected drug traders were killed in nine districts of the country on Tuesday.This takes the mark

Dhaka-bound Saudia plane makes emergency landing in Jeddah

Dhaka-bound Saudia plane makes emergency landing in Jeddah

A Dhaka-bound Saudi Arabian Airlines flight made an emergency landing at King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah following a malfunction of hydraulic system and subsequent retraction of its nose gear

Form body to decide Rajib's compensation

Staff Reporter :The Supreme Court on Tuesday stayed the High Court order that directed the owners of two buses--- BRTC and Swajan Paribahan--- to pay Tk one crore to the

Rohingya children's future look bleak, help them: Priyanka

Rohingya children's future look bleak, help them: Priyanka

UNB, Cox's Bazar :Bollywood actress and Unicef Goodwill Ambassador Priyanka Chopra says Rohingya children can have a chance at a future with help from all because right now, she thinks,

KCC polls not fully free and fair, says Shujan

Shushashoner Jonno Nagorik (Shujan) on Tuesday said that the recently held Khulna City Corporation (KCC) elections were not completely free and fair.The NGO that promotes the cause of good governance

Canadian court terms BNP again as terrorist organization

A Canadian Federal Court has described BNP again as a terrorist organization as it denied asylum prayer of a BNP activist for the party's role in triggering violence and vandalism

SC asks Citycell to clear Tk 128 crore dues

Staff Reporter :The Supreme Court on Tuesday directed the Citycell to pay an amount of Tk 128 crore, the remainder of its fees, to telecom regulator in revenue sharing bid,