Grenfell Tower victims ‘may never be identified’ – police
The death toll from Wednesday’s fire is expected to rise from the confirmed 17 in the coming days, with Met Commander Start Cundy hoping it would not go into “triple figures."
Six bodies have been recovered from what remains of the 24-storey building, with a further 11 known to be located inside that cannot yet be removed. There are likely to be many more.
Fire authorities said they do not expect to find any further survivors in the gutted West London tower.
An official inquiry has been called by Prime Minister Theresa May, but authorities have warned the process could take months.
Firefighters and other rescue teams were forced out of the building on Thursday afternoon as the fire restarted. Many of the victims are thought to have been trapped in upper floors. The area remains inaccessible.
A criminal investigation by Scotland Yard is also under way, after calls for arrests on the basis of ‘corporate manslaughter.’ Tottenham MP David Lammy was one of those leading the calls.
Families are still searching hospitals for their loved ones. Many have expressed their frustration that protocol makes it impossible for hospitals and police to give out details of victims, making the search more difficult.
The uncle of two little girls who lived on Grenfell’s 20th floor spoke of his relief after finding them in St. Mary’s Hospital on Thursday evening.
“I was trawling hospitals and yesterday morning I found two of Farah’s children in St Mary’s,” Adel Chaoui told the Guardian.
Tazmin Belkadi, six, and Malek, eight, had been reported missing, together with their parents Farah Hamdan and Omar Belkadi, and six-month-old sister Leena.
Chaoui, who is Hamdan’s cousin, said he was angry it took so long to find the children due to the lack of police cooperation.
“It’s not because authorities contacted us but because we begged and cajoled a nurse who took pity and said there was a child upstairs who matched our description,” he said.
“When we went we noticed that her sibling was a few beds down, no one even knew they were related. Police are not identifying people... they are using protocols for terrorist incidents to manage civil disaster.”
In a series of tweets, Chaoui said the “Casualty Bureau is not providing any response to families missing loved ones, desperate for some feedback.
“They have no access to calls I've made let alone police info. Answering machine service only. No response given. No one is authority informed us family were in hospital. We found them ourselves trawling a St Mary's ward.”
Thanks Naomi@metpoliceuk Casualty Bureau is not providing any response to families missing loved ones, desperate for some feedback.— Adel Chaoui (@AdelChaoui1) 14 June 2017
One of the girls is said to be in a coma, with her sister reportedly seriously traumatized. It is unknown how the children escaped the blaze or where their parents and little sister are.