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London police say 58 people dead or missing in tower fire

London police issued an update on the devastating fire that ravaged Grenfell Tower earlier this week, indicated that some 58 people have died or are presumed missing.

Commander Stuart Cundy told the BBC that figure could increase, and there have been several reports indicating that at least 70 people may have died.

The rescue and recovery operation at the block of flats has resumed as of this weekend, he added.

On Sunday, Chancellor Philip Hammond said that cladding used on Grenfell Tower, which has been blamed for the rapid spreading of the fire, is actually banned in the United Kingdom.

“My understanding is the cladding in question, this flammable cladding which is banned in Europe and the US, is also banned here,” he said, The Guardian reported.

“So there are two separate questions. One: are our regulations correct, do they permit the right kind of materials and ban the wrong kind of materials? The second question is: were they correctly complied with?

“That will be a subject that the inquiry will look at. It will also be a subject that the criminal investigation will be looking at.”

The former director of public prosecutions in the country, Sir Keir Starmer, indicated that a criminal investigation into the disaster is underway. Manslaughter charges could be pending.

“I spoke to the DPP yesterday and there are prosecutors already in advising the police. So the criminal investigation really has to come first,” he was quoted by the Telegraph as saying.

“Normally an inquest will only take place at the end of the criminal investigation, so the idea of an inquiry is important because that can, in some circumstances, happen much more quickly and I think speed is of the essence here.”

In a rare statement, Queen Elizabeth II said that she was “profoundly struck by the immediate inclination of people throughout the country to offer comfort and support to those in desperate need.”

“Put to the test, the United Kingdom has been resolute in the face of adversity,” she said.

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