Saturday, 18 November, 2017

Grenfell Tower Blaze: Tears, agony as families search for relatives

Bennie Garza | 16 June, 2017, 10:47

To add to the grim reality facing people clinging onto hope a missing loved family member will be found alive, London Metropolitan Police Commander Stuart Cundy said there is a risk authorities may not be able to identify everybody.

Asked if the final figure would be in double or triple digits, Cundy said: "I'd like to hope that it isn't going to be triple figures".

Almost 78 people were injured, and 34 remain in hospitals across London - 18 of them in critical condition.

The police have provided a number for people to call if they think someone is still missing. On Wednesday, she promised a "proper investigation" into the cause of the blaze.

Horrified witnesses said they could see people waving sheets out of the windows as they called to be rescued, with some jumping from the building.

"This will be a slow and painstaking process which will require a large amount of shoring-up work inside the building, especially on the upper floors, which will be the most challenging for us to access and search". And sometimes words fail us because no words can do justice to how we feel, or what we have seen or what has happened.

Solicitor Simon Marciniak, chair of the Housing Law Practitioners Association, told the Gazette that individuals and households who have been displaced will be owed a rehousing duty under homelessness legislation because they will be considered to be in priority need. On Wednesday morning, as the flames took hold, a November blog post from the Grenfell tenants' action group seemed eerily prescient, predicting that it would take a major tragedy before residents' concerns were listened to. The whole building is on fire and we're on the floor above.

Ms Ibrham goes back to the window and films the blue lights of emergency service vehicles rushing to the building, then tells someone: "The police are telling us to get out".

Mr Corbyn also visited, meeting local clergy and volunteers helping with the recovery operation. The many residents I met today are very angry too; their concerns about the building were not responded to and their questions were not answered.

More than 1 million pounds ($1.27 million) has been raised to help victims of the tragedy as volunteers and charities worked through the night to find shelter, food and clothes for people who had lost everything.

The fire might have been yet another tragedy in a year filled with bad news, but for one thing: Some of the survivors, as well as other critics, claim it could have been prevented.

A Labour MP for Tottenham, David Lammy, said on Thursday that a close friend of his family, Khadija Saye, a 24-year-old artist, and her mother Mary were missing after the blaze.

"She tried to keep it on the low but I shouted "Adele!' and she said 'no, it's not me". "The phone was ringing but they didn't reply to us".

But now the real battle begins: to make sure residents are rehoused locally, permanently, and that this is not used as an excuse to demolish blocks like Grenfell Tower, but rather to make them as safe as they should be. "Maybe 70 percent are from Somalia, Sudan, Morocco".

Police use one of three ways to identify the victims, McCormack explained: dental records, fingerprints and DNA. "People were absolutely devastated by yesterday's events", Cotton said.

Her grandsons, Prince William and Prince Harry, along with William's wife Kate, donated to a relief fund organized by London's local Evening Standard newspaper.

An out-of-office message from North Kensington Law Centre this morning states that it is now closed "as we are unable to access our offices due to our proximity to the Grenfell Tower fire".

On Thursday morning, the first video emerged from inside the building, shot as it was engulfed in flames. Security cordons were in place around the base of the tower and the ground was littered with charred debris.

Earlier, Mr Corbyn said: "There are thousands of tower blocks around our country, there are hundreds of thousands of people living in tower blocks all over this country".

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