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London fire: Theresa May pledges $6.4 million for survivors

17 Juin 2017

May made a private visit to the Chelsea and Westminster Hospital which is treating eight survivors on Friday afternoon, after being heavily criticized for attending the site but not meeting the Tower block's residents.

The focus of criticism is on the cladding fitted to external walls of the 1974 tower as part of a £8.7 million ($11 million, 9.9 million euros) refit completed previous year.

The growing number of questions being raised is seeing grief and disbelief turn to anger.

- More than 70 people remain unaccounted for according to residents, poster and social media appeals.

The death toll in the massive fire that engulfed a 24-storey tower here almost doubled to 30 today amid fears that it could climb to "triple figures", even as Scotland Yard launched a criminal investigation into the cause of one of the worst fire tragedies in the country.

"The recovery of victims from inside the building is enormously challenging, but it is our absolute priority above everything else to recover and identify the victims and let the families know", Metropolitan Police Commander Stuart Cundy said.

Thirty-seven people remained in hospital, with 17 of them in critical care.

London Fire Commissioner Dany Cotton said her crews had identified a "number" of those killed, "but we know there will be more".

"I have friends in the tower and they are not telling us anything", Salwa Buamani, 25, told AFP.

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Earlier May visited the scene of the disaster in the London borough of Kensington and Chelsea.

Mohammed Alhajali, a Syrian refugee, was the first person to have been confirmed dead. He had not seen his family for four years.

"Mohammed undertook a risky journey to flee war and death in Syria, only to meet it here in the United Kingdom, in his own home", the Syrian Solidarity Campaign said in a statement. "Mohammed came to this country for safety and the United Kingdom failed to protect him".

Afterwards, Kai was asked whether he was satisfied with Mr Khan's answers, to which he said: "I didn't hear them".

The Prime Minister has been confronted by angry crowds after meeting victims of the Grenfell Tower fire in Kensington.

Writing on Facebook he said: "there has sadly been some political game playing about the awful fire in London". I feel very angry that it was possible for the fire to spread in the way it did.

The block, which housed some 600 people in about 120 apartments, is in a low-rent housing estate next to one of the most affluent areas of Britain.

"We are in the richest borough in the United Kingdom and in this very borough we have a building where some of the poorest live and the safety measures are totally inadequate", said Mustafa Al Mansur, one of the organisers of the demonstration. "The tower block is more strong and stable than that woman's government".