UK observes minute of silence for London’s Grenfell Tower blaze victims

Britain held one-minute of silence on Monday for the victims of last week’s devastating fire at Grenfell Tower in west London, where at least 79 people died.

Hundreds of local residents, firefighters and other emergency personnel paused near the gutted 24-storey residential block, while government offices across Britain also took part.

“The residents of Grenfell Tower, families who have lost loved ones, and the emergency services who have been working so hard to help them have been through some of the most harrowing and traumatic experiences imaginable,” Prime Minister Theresa May said in a statement before the remembrance.

Metropolitan Police Commander Stuart Cundy said the number of people confirmed dead, or missing and presumed dead, had risen to 79 and could increase further.

“I do think there may be some change to that number,” Cundy told reporters.

Some families living in the tower had lost more than one member, he said.

But five people previously reported missing were found to be “safe and well,” Cundy said.

Amid growing anger and weekend protests over alleged fire safety problems at the tower, and complaints over the slow response to the fire by central and local government agencies, on Sunday May announced a guaranteed payment of 5,500 pounds (7,000 dollars) for each household affected by the fire.

“Our focus is on ensuring that all of those affected by this unimaginable tragedy get the right support as quickly as possible,” she said.

“My government will continue to do absolutely everything possible to help all of those affected through the difficult days, weeks, months and years ahead.” (NAN)

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