Local News

London fire: Two sisters feared dead in Grenfell Tower inferno found alive in hospital

Their mother, father and baby sibling are still missing.

By Candice Mehta-Culjak
Two young sisters who lived on the 20th floor of Grenfell Tower have been found alive in hospital, relatives said.
Malek Belkadi, eight, and her sister Tamzin, six, were identified after a grueling search led by family and friends. One of the girls is reportedly sedated due to severe trauma, while the other is in a coma.
Their mother, Farah Hamdan, father, Omar Belkadi and baby sister, Leena Belkadi, six months, are still missing, with fears the last could be the youngest victim of the blaze.
Hamdan’s cousin, Adel Chaoui, told The Telegraph of the horrific struggle the family faced in locating the young girls.
"We have a six and an eight-year-old - one is traumatised and the other is in a coma. When she went into hospital she was just screaming. And rather than trying to identify who these children are and who their parents are, protocol means they can't identify them at this time.”
"We have had no help from the police, we understand that they're busy but they've got casualties in the hospitals.”
WATCH: A witness describes the moment a baby was thrown from the burning building. Post continues...
"My family has been round all the hospitals asking for anyone who matches the descriptions.”
"Our brother is wandering around the wards around and sees at a child two beds down and found that it was her sibling.”
"The hospitals had no idea who these children were - they didn't even realise they were related".
He explained that authorities are following the same protocol used in the aftermath of a terrorist incident, which has prevented the exchange of vital information.
"The police are following protocol they have in place during terrorist incidents. There needs to be separate protocol for civil disasters. That's what's going wrong here.”
"They're still treating everyone as suspects."
"Eventually people are giving you the information and it's on a very hush-hush basis."
He added: "It's all very cagey. First they try and push you away and eventually we get some information but only after we get their sympathies.”
Seventeen have been confirmed dead in the "unprecedented" fire, with the death toll expected to rise significantly.
Candles have been lit near the 24-storey residential tower in memory of those who've lost their lives.
Prime Minister Theresa May has ordered a full public inquiry into the fire that devastated the 24-storey Grenfell Tower public housing block, as it was confirmed at least 17 people had died.
Police said six victims have been provisionally identified, but there’s a possibility many will remain unidentified due to the extent of the damage.
"It may be – and I just don't know – it may be that ultimately some victims remain unidentified,” Metropolitan Police Commander Stuart Cundy said. "I won't know that until we've gone through the full recovery from Grenfell Tower and we know exactly what we've got and I anticipate that is going to take a considerable period of time.”
He added: "There is a risk that sadly we may not be able to identify everybody."
Despite more than 250 firefights arrive at the scene, the building has been entirely gutted.
While refusing to speculate on the total number dead, he said he hoped the number wouldn’t reach triple figures.
"From a personal perspective, I really hope it isn't, for those of us that have been down there, it's pretty emotional, so I hope it is not triple figures, but I can't be drawn on the numbers,” he said.
Specialist teams and search dogs are now working to make the burnt-out building safe to allow firefighters and police to carry out their investigations.
Dozens remain missing and unaccounted for following the tragedy.
In January and November last year, the building’s action group complained about fire hazards in and around the building as well as their landlord’s “ineptitude”.
“It is a truly terrifying thought but the Grenfell Action Group firmly believe that only a catastrophic event will expose the ineptitude and incompetence of our landlord, the KCTMO, and bring an end to the dangerous living conditions and neglect of health and safety legislation that they inflict upon their tenants and leaseholders,” they wrote on November 20, 2016.
It has also emerged the building may have been fitted with flammable cladding during a recent renovation.
More as we get it.