London tower block fire death toll reaches 79

London tower block fire death toll reaches 79

The British government Sunday scrambled to contain political fallout from the London high-rise inferno that has claimed at least 58 lives as officials focused on building materials that may have spread the fire quickly.

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. "But we need to make sure that that actually happens".

"The prime minister is this morning chairing a cross-government meeting to ensure everything possible is being done to support those affected by the Grenfell tragedy", a spokesman said.

A man signs a message board placed near Grenfell Tower in London, Saturday, June 17, 2017.

"There is considerable damage within Grenfell Tower", he said.

He promised an exhaustive investigation into the fire which would include scrutiny of the renovation works on the block which some experts believe may have left the building more vulnerable to the catastrophic blaze.

British health authorities say they are still treating 19 patients, 10 of whom remain in critical condition. Counselors are already working with 52 families.

There has been a public outcry at the government's initial failure to provide up-to-the minute information.

And so it begins: Brexit talks to focus 1st on orderly exit
A key issue he did not mention was the EU's bill for Britain to leave, which Brussels estimates at a colossal 100 billion euros. British newspaper The Guardian newspaper labelled him "the old knuckleduster leading Britain out of the European Union ".

Frustration has been mounting in recent days as information about those still missing in the blaze has been scanty and efforts to find temporary housing for the hundreds of now-homeless tower residents have faltered.

"Afterwards, she will meet a group of residents, victims, volunteers and community leaders in Number 10". She also said she will receive daily reports from the stricken neighborhood.

Cundy said police had now managed to get to the top of the tower and had undertaken a first visual search for victims, ahead of later painstaking searches.

Sixteen bodies have been removed from the blackened 24-storey apartment block, and the first victim was formally identified as Mohammed Alhajali, a 23-year-old Syrian refugee.

His family said that Alhajali "came to the United Kingdom because he had ambitions and aims for his life and for his family".

"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 Saturday.

Officials are using dental records, fingerprints and DNA samples to try and positively identify victims.

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