No final Grenfell Tower death toll 'this year'

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The final Grenfell Tower fire toll will not be known until at least the end of the year, with 80 people currently presumed dead, police say.

The vast majority of those who died were said to be in 23 of the North Kensington building’s 129 flats.

The 14 June fire destroyed 151 homes, most in the tower block, but also a number of surrounding properties.

Det Supt Fiona McCormack said the full toll will only be known when the search and recovery operation is over.

Survivors and relatives of those who died have expressed frustration at the progress of the investigation.

Det Supt McCormack said: “What I can say is that we believe that around 80 people are either dead or sadly missing and I must presume that they are dead.”

She added: “I don’t want there to be any hidden victims. We want to understand the true human cost of this tragedy.”

Police said some residents had tried to move up the building to escape the flames and it is thought a number of people may have ended up in one flat.

Det Supt McCormack said officers were having to prepare some families for the reality that their relatives’ remains may never be recovered.

There was “utter devastation inside the flats,” she said.

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Met Police

The update on the police investigation came as Prime Minister Theresa May told MPs that cladding from 120 high-rise buildings in 37 local authority areas in England has now failed fire safety tests.

At least one person from 106 of the 129 flats at Grenfell Tower has been contacted in an attempt to identify those who might have died.

Some of the victims have been identified from a variety of sources including 999 calls – 26 calls received came from inside the 23 flats where the majority of people are thought to have died.

The 23 flats concerned were located between the 11th and 23rd floors of Grenfell Tower.

Det Supt McCormack said: “At this stage, we must presume, that no-one in those flats survived, that includes anyone who lived there or was visiting them.”

The previously given death toll was 79.

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Media captionOluwaseun Talabi talked about his survival as he revisited the tower, two weeks on

Local people have created their own databases on missing people with figures which differ from those officially released.

Police said they hoped information would be sent to its investigation if it might identify the missing.

They said “every imaginable source” of information “from government agencies to fast food companies” had been used by officers as part of their inquiries to identify the victims.

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