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15 June 2017 - 12 Dead in Grenfell Tower Fire in London

Grenfell Tower: 12 dead in fire that destroyed 24-storey building
Sandra Laville, Alice Ross, Alexandra Topping, Damien Gayle and Jamie Grierson (The Guardian, 14/06/2017)

Firefighters and police were searching through the still smouldering debris of a tower block inferno in London to retrieve bodies as police warned the death toll of 12 would rise in the coming hours.

Hundreds of people have made desperate calls to a specially created casualty bureau to report missing loved ones in the aftermath of the blaze, which ripped through the 24-storey Grenfell Tower in west London.

Commander Stuart Cundy of the Metropolitan police said a full search of the building was taking place but it was not anticipated there would be any survivors found inside: “The thoughts of all of us from the emergency services ... and from all of London, our thoughts will be with those so affected by a fire on a scale that is unprecedented,” he said.

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Cladding
 
London fire: Grenfell Tower cladding 'linked to other fires'
(BBC News, 15/06/2017)
 
The cladding installed on Grenfell Tower was also used on other buildings that have been hit by fires around the world, the BBC has learned.

The exterior cladding, added in 2015, had a polyethylene - or plastic - core instead of an even more fireproof alternative, BBC Newsnight understands.

High-rise buildings in France, the UAE and Australia that had similar cladding have all been hit by fires that spread.

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Social Housing

London Fire Shows Why Britons Don’t Trust the System
Heather Brooke (The New York Times, 14/06/2017)

Helicopters are not unusual in London, but the intense buzzing from the sky at 5 a.m. roused me early. From my balcony, I could see a huge plume of smoke billowing up from behind trees. It came from a blaze at Grenfell Tower, a 24-floor residential building, not far from where I live in West London. The authorities declared it a major incident as more than 200 firefighters battled the fire, with an unknown number of people trapped inside.

As the day went on, the scale of the horror became apparent. The death toll rose from six to at least 12, with scores of people needing hospital treatment and some in critical care. There were reports of people jumping from windows to escape the smoke and flames, and of a baby caught by a bystander after being dropped from high above.

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Crisis of Democracy

What the London fire tells us about the crisis of Western democracy
Christian Caryl (The Washington Post, 14/06/2017)

In case you didn’t notice, Britain just held an election and the ruling Conservative Party, which had expected to win by a landslide, got hammered. The experts had given Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the opposition Labour Party, almost no chance to win. To be sure, he campaigned on a platform of stringent opposition to long years of Conservative-ordained austerity — a message that resonated especially with students and the discontented. But still, who would vote for a not-entirely-reformed Marxist, a man who has publicly flirted with the IRA and Hugo Chávez and Hamas?

As it turned out, there were plenty of voters who preferred “Loony” Labour to the incumbents — enough of them to strip Prime Minister Theresa May of her majority. Once again, the pundits were confounded.

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Last update June 15, 2017
Créé le June 13, 2017
ISSN 2107-7029
DGESCO Clé des Langues