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UK PM admits failings after tower fire

19 June 2017

The fire forced residents to flee through black smoke down the single stairwell, jump out of windows or even drop their children from the 120-apartment building. Grief turned to outrage Friday amid reports that materials used in the building's renovation could have fueled the i.

The number of people believed to have been killed in the Grenfell Tower fire in west London is expected to increase from 58, the Met police has said.

Kensington and Chelsea council has been sidelined in leading the response to the Grenfell Tower fire amid criticism it was failing the survivors of the disaster.

The government has ordered inspections of similar buildings, and May said it was doing "everything in our power" to ensure people living in an estimated 4,000 other tower blocks across Britain were safe.

In a statement issued earlier this week, Harley Facades Ltd said it was not aware at this time of any link between the Grenfell Tower fire and the exterior cladding fitted to it. British media have reported that contractors installed a cheaper, less flame-resistant type of exterior paneling on the 24-story tower in a renovation that was completed just past year.

Cundy added that it will take weeks or longer to recover and identify all the dead in the housing block that was devastated.

More than 66,000 people have called on the United Kingdom to grant the parents of a Syrian victim of the Grenfell Tower fire visas so they can attend his funeral, a report said on Saturday.

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Police have been struggling to come up with an authoritative list of who was in the building when the fire started, making it hard to determine how many had died. He asked anyone who was in the tower and survived to contact police immediately.

"Whilst our teams have been from the bottom to the top of the tower, we must now carry out a full forensic and systematic search".

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. Inside the church, the Prime Minister announced a £5m fund for emergency supplies, food and clothing.

"But, frankly, 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 said.

The identification of the victims is proving very hard - which experts attribute to the extreme heat of the fire. Police said 19 injured in the fire remain hospitalized, including 10 who were in critical condition.

The tragedy cast a pall on the Trooping the Color festivities that mark the official birthday of Queen Elizabeth II.

But he said it was clear that action had been taken since Mrs May held her first meeting on Friday and her offer of support had gone some way to help reassure attendees that things were being done to help.

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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 hard to escape a very somber national mood", she said in a message marking the event. Hundreds have been left homeless, putting more pressure on officials in a city plagued by a chronic housing shortage.

"It was a death trap, and they knew it", one person shouted as demonstrators surged inside the offices of the Kensington and Chelsea council, responsible for managing the social housing block in a working-class enclave of one of Britain's richest districts.

Planning documents detailing the recent refurbishment of the block did not refer to a type of fire barrier that safety experts said must be used when high-rise blocks are re-clad.

The government has set up a £5 million ($6.4 million, 5.7 million euros) emergency fund for the Grenfell Tower residents, allocating a minimum £5,500 to each household with £500 cash payments already being handed out.

The package includes a guarantee to rehouse people as close as possible to where they previously lived - a poor neighbourhood surrounded by extreme wealth. The entire community has been affected by the fire and are looking to the country to assist in their hour of need.

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