British Prime Minister Theresa May admits failings after Grenfell Tower blaze

Metropolitan Police Commander Stuart Cundy speaking to the media near Grenfell Tower in west London. Pic Victoria Jones  PA Wire
Metropolitan Police Commander Stuart Cundy speaking to the media near Grenfell Tower in west London. Pic Victoria Jones PA Wire
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20 June, 2017

May has come in for a barrage of criticism over her response to the disaster, including being jeered when she visited the North Kensington estate on Friday. Relatives of those missing after a high-rise tower blaze in London are searching frantically for their loved ones, as the police commander in charge of the investigation says he hopes the death toll will not rise to three figures.

As NPR's Merrit Kennedy reported, the Grenfell Tower fire has aroused the ire of those who feel it was caused by corporate malfeasance and who feel Prime Minister Theresa May's government is not doing enough to respond. Thirty of the victims are confirmed dead.

A prominent British Labour Party lawmaker is calling for police and the government to seize all documents relating to the renovation of a London high-rise destroyed by a fire that killed dozens of its residents.

The cause of Wednesday's blaze is still under investigation, but anger has mounted in the community amid reports that exterior paneling used in an extensive renovation completed previous year may have been banned by United Kingdom rules.

"We're all desperately sad", said Green, who was appointed May's deputy in the wake of the general election.

The queen and Philip stood silently before the start of the annual Trooping the Color procession that marks the queen's official birthday.

The 91-year-old monarch said that Britain remains "resolute in the face of adversity" after the horrendous fire and recent extremist attacks in London and Manchester. Authorities may never be able to identify some of the victims, he said.

NHS England says the injured are being treated in four London hospitals.

Tailored bereavement support for families of the victims, those missing or people affected by the tragedy will also be provided.

"The response of the emergency services, National Health Service, and the community has been heroic", May said in a statement.

Experts believe the building's new exterior cladding, which contained insulation, helped spread the flames quickly up the outside of the public housing tower early Wednesday.

The tragedy has provoked a huge response from nearby communities that have donated food and shelter to the victims.

The meeting is unlikely to quell complaints that May has been slow to reach out to fire survivors, despite her announcement of a $6.4 million emergency fund to help the displaced families.

Late Sunday, the Metropolitan Police released three photos from inside Grenfell Tower, which showed in close detail how the fire charred the 24-story building that once housed up to 600 people in 120 apartments.

Public anger is mounting as residents and neighbours demand answers for how the blaze early Wednesday spread so quickly and trapped so numerous tower's 600-odd residents.

The identification of the victims is proving very hard - which experts attribute to the extreme heat of the fire. The queen said it was "difficult to escape a very sombre mood" on what is normally a day of celebration.

The government has promised a full public inquiry, but that has done little to ease a sense of frustration at the lack of information about how the fire moved so quickly to engulf the building.

On Friday angry protesters chanting "We want justice" stormed their way into the Kensington and Chelsea town hall to try to confront the leaders of the local council. If you would like to discuss another topic, look for a relevant article.

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