The latest news from the West London Grenfell Tower fire site list 58 people missing and presumed to be dead, London police Commander Stuart Cundy said on Saturday. He also explained that the figure was based on reports from the public and feared it might go up. “This number 58 may change. I really hope it won't, but it may increase,” he said. This 58 include the 30 already confirmed dead, according to Cundy. Analysts estimate the death toll can reach 70.
British Prime Minister Theresa May admitted on Saturday that the support on the ground for families who needed help or basic information in the initial hours after this appalling disaster was not good enough. She added that I have heard the concerns and I have ordered immediate action across the board to help victims' relatives and the survivors.
The Government’s £5 million emergency fund is already being spent on clothing and food to help the dispossessed and NHS London will provide counselling and bereavement support to families.
May also said phone lines would be better staffed and more staff would be deployed in the area. They would wear high-visibility clothing so they could easily be found, dispense advice and ensure the right support is provided, she added.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan, who was at the meeting, said he used it as a “crucial opportunity for me to make clear to the Government” what the residents need.
The first victim has been formally identified as 23-year-old Syrian refugee Mohammed Alhajali. However, the identification of the other victims is proving very difficult - which experts attribute to the extreme heat of the fire. British health authorities say that 19 fire survivors are still being treated at London hospitals, and 10 of them remain in critical condition
A representative of the families who met with May and spoke to reporters briefly after leaving 10th Downing Street said we will be making this in the community, with the community.
The recovery operation at the burnt-out block of flats has resumed and could take weeks, Cundy explained and May said she expected to announce the name of the judge for a public inquiry within the next few days. The inquiry will report back to the prime minister. Mas has also instructed councils to complete urgent safety checks on similar tower blocks.
In her official birthday message, Queen Elizabeth II, who visited the area on Friday, reflected on the sombre national mood following tragedies in London and Manchester in recent weeks. She said, in an unprecedented statement, that she had been profoundly struck by the immediate inclination of people throughout the country to offer comfort and support to those in desperate need.
Anger is rising against British authorities over safety failings and a widely perceived slow release of information.
The identification of the victims is proving very difficult - which experts attribute to the extreme heat of the fire. British health authorities say that 19 fire survivors are still being treated at London hospitals, and 10 of them remain in critical condition.
Cundy said police will investigate the tower's refurbishment project, which experts believe may have left the building in the north Kensington area more vulnerable to a catastrophic blaze.
The government has promised a full public inquiry, but that has done little to a sense of frustration and anger among residents and neighbours who demand answers for how the blaze spread so quickly and trapped so many of the tower's roughly 600 residents.
Some Grenfell Tower residents had warned months ago fire safety issues at the building meant that it was at risk of a catastrophic event. They say their complaints were ignored - and fear it was because the tower housed mainly poor people in a hugely wealthy neighbourhood.
The tragedy has provoked a huge response from nearby communities. More than three million pounds ($3.8m) have been raised for the affected families.
Hundreds have been left homeless by the blaze, putting more pressure on officials in a city plagued by a chronic housing shortage. Many of the displaced are living in churches and community centres.
Some 110 families are reported to have been given temporary accommodation in hotels within the local area.
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. We were seeking a change to the building regulations for that very purpose, he added.
King also said that there are around 4,000 tower blocks in the UK without automatic fire sprinkler protection systems in place. We've long been advocates of automatic fire sprinkler protection in tall tower blocks and they work - people don't die in sprinkler buildings, he said.
Two Underground lines near the fire area were partially shut down on Saturday to make sure that debris did not land on the tracks.