Grenfell fire revealed ‘state failure’

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The initial response to the Grenfell Tower fire was “not good enough”, Theresa May has said, blaming “a failure of the state, local and national”.

“As Prime Minister, I apologise for that failure,” she told MPs.

Speaking after the Queen had laid out the new Government’s legislative programme, Mrs May said: “The whole country was heartbroken by the horrific loss of life and the utter devastation that we have seen.

“One lady I had met ran from the fire wearing no more than a t-shirt and a pair of knickers. She had lost absolutely everything.”

The Prime Minister continued: “So let me be absolutely clear. The support on the ground for families in the initial hours was not good enough.

“People were left without belongings, without roofs over their heads, without even basic information about what had happened, what they should do, and where they could seek help.

“That was a failure of the state, local and national, to help people when they needed it most. As Prime Minister, I apologise for that failure.”

Mrs May said that all those who have lost their homes will be rehoused within three weeks.

As part of its efforts, the Government has purchased apartments at an upmarket development.

And the Prime Minister said there would be a “new strategy for resilience in major disasters, which could include a new civil disaster response task force”.

Meanwhile, a funeral has been held for the first victim of the fire to be formally identified, Syrian refugee Mohammad Alhajali.

After the service at the East London Mosque, his family said in a statement read by a friend that he “loved London and loved the people he met here”.

Mr Alhajali had also begun to pursue his dream of studying engineering.

“His very last words to us were how much he missed us. Ever since he moved away from us, we tried to be united with him and his brothers, and now, instead, we have been united by his body,” his family said.

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