Lon­don tower fire toll at 79, im­pos­si­ble to iden­tify all

Hindustan Times ST (Jaipur) - - World - Pra­sun Son­walkar pra­sun.son­walkar@hindustantimes.com

Scot­land Yard on Mon­day con­firmed at least 79 peo­ple per­ished in last week’s blaze in west Lon­don but said it may not be pos­si­ble to iden­tify all the dead due to the in­ten­sity of the fire in the wealthy Kens­ing­ton and Chelsea bor­ough.

The blaze not only raised a se­ries of ques­tions about lev­els of in­equal­ity in Lon­don and Bri­tish so­ci­ety, but also singed pol­i­tics af­ter Prime Min­is­ter Theresa May was bar­racked for her al­legedly cold re­sponse to the tragedy.

The num­ber of the dead may change as in­ves­ti­ga­tions progress, po­lice said.

Sep­a­rate in­quiries have been or­dered by the po­lice and govern­ment, as the me­dia pub­lished images on Mon­day of the charred re­mains in­side the 24-storey Gren­fell Tower. Sev­eral peo­ple re­mained in hos­pi­tals.

Kens­ing­ton and Chelsea ranks among the wealth­i­est bor­oughs in the UK, but also in­cludes pock­ets that are among the most de­prived, in­clud­ing the area around the tower.

Labour Party leader Jeremy Cor­byn has called for homes to be " req­ui­si­tioned if nec­es­sary” to house those left homeless by the dis­as­ter: “It is hardly ac­cept­able that in Lon­don you have lux­ury build­ings and lux­ury flats kept empty, as land banks for the fu­ture, while the homeless and the poor look for some­where to live.” Of­fi­cial data sug­gests the Kens­ing­ton and Chelsea bor­ough has more empty prop­er­ties than any other bor­ough in Lon­don, num­ber­ing nearly 1,400 prop­er­ties clas­si­fied as “long-term va­cant” or empty for more than six months. Queen El­iz­a­beth vis­ited the site, which was com­pared to the visit of May, who con­fined her­self to speak­ing to po­lice.

REUTERS

Queen El­iz­a­beth vis­ited the site and met vic­tims, con­trary to Prime Min­is­ter May, who con­fined her­self to speak­ing to po­lice.

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