British gov't announces responsive measures after London fire

Source: Xinhua| 2017-06-22 17:03:10|Editor: ying


Photo taken on June 16, 2017 shows a view of Grenfell Tower after the fire in London, Britain. (Xinhua/Ray Tang)

LONDON, June 22 (Xinhua) -- The British government announced Wednesday a series of measures to cope with the bereaved families in a huge fire in London amid criticism for its insufficient response to the disaster.

At least 79 people lost their lives due to the blaze that destroyed a 24-story tower block in the Kensington district of London on June 14, with many people still unaccounted for, according to the London Metropolitan Police.

The government plans to create the post of a public advocate who will act for bereaved families in any disaster.

"The purpose of the Independent Public Advocate is to keep the bereaved and surviving victims of disasters informed of progress in any relevant investigation and make them fully aware how they can contribute to that investigation," the government said in a document detailing its legislative program for the next two years.

"The Public Advocate would ensure that, in the event of disasters involving multiple fatalities and where there are numerous persons affected, no individuals or families are sidelined in what will necessarily be large and complex proceedings," the document said.

Besides, the British government has acquired 68 newly built apartments that can be used to house some of the residents displaced by the blaze.

Prime Minister Theresa May on Wednesday issued a public apology to the victims in the catastrophic fire, admitting it was "a failure of the state -- local and national -- to help people when they needed it most."

"As prime minister, I apologize for that failure -- and as prime minister, I've taken responsibility for doing what we can to put things right," she said.

Tony Travers, a professor with the London School of Economics and Political Science, told Xinhua that the disastrous fire and the response of the authorities had now become an issue in politics.

Travers said the government, already weakened by the June 8 election setback and the need to seek support from other parties in the British House of Commons, would suffer as a result of the fire.

"It risks making the government, at the moment, look slightly out of touch. And that will further weaken it," said Travers.