World Bulletin / News Desk
The death toll from the Grenfell Tower block fire in west London has reached 79, the Metropolitan Police confirmed Monday.
"As of this morning, I'm afraid to say there are now 79 people that we believe are either dead or missing and I sadly have to presume are dead," Cmdr. Stuart Cundy told reporters in London ahead of a minute's silence for the victims of last Wednesday's catastrophe in North Kensington.
Cundy said five people had been formally identified so far, adding the police might not be able to identify everybody that died "due to the intensity of the fire and the devastation within Grenfell Tower".
Police had announced the death toll as 58 on Saturday, and confirmed that a 23-year-old Syrian refugee was the first victim of the huge fire. Mohammad Alhajali was initially identified last Thursday by a Syrian solidarity group he worked for.
Having ordered an emergency aid package for the fire survivors and a full public inquiry into the incident, Prime Minister Theresa May held a meeting Saturday with some of the survivors and family members of victims at a government office.
A protest calling more effective action to help the survivors was staged in front of the Downing Street on Saturday afternoon, following two protests earlier last week.
Assistant Secretary of State Wess Mitchell told reporters after talks with Cypriot President Nicos Anastasiades on Friday that the U.S. also wants to see a resumption of talks to reunify the ethnically divided island nation.
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