UK Prime Minister Theresa May. [Xinhua]
Prime Minister Theresa May issued a public apology Wednesday to the victims of the horrific fire that swept through Grenfell Tower, the 24-floor residential block in west London.
"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 basic information about what had happened, what they should do and where they could seek help," May told British lawmakers.
"That 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.
May's apology came in the House of Commons where MPs had gathered to start a week-long debate on the Queen's Speech which earlier Wednesday had kick-started the new session of parliament following the snap general election.
May has faced sharp criticism for her initial responses to the tragedy which left almost 80 people dead or missing and presumed dead.
It was the worse housing tragedy in London since World War II.
May, who also said the whole country had been heartbroken by the fire, confirmed a measure announced in the speech earlier by Queen Elizabeth.
The government says that to support victims of tragedies, an independent public advocate will be appointed to act for bereaved families after public disasters and support them at public inquests.
May's government also announced Wednesday that work is to be speeded up on a new housing scheme close to Grenfell Tower to provide new homes for 68 families made homeless in the tragedy.
May said all families who lost their homes in Grenfell Tower will be re-housed within three weeks.
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