An unknown number of British Filipinos were injured or are still missing after a huge blaze ravaged a London tower block early this morning (Wednesday, June 14).
In a statement issued on its Facebook page, the Philippine Embassy in the United Kingdom said: “The Embassy has confirmed that Filipinos are among those injured and affected by the fire at Grenfell Tower.”
The embassy was unable to confirm how many Filipinos had been affected, but said “a number of them” had been taken to emergency shelters.
UK Consul General Senen Mangalile said there were about 5,000 Filipinos living in the Royal Borough of Kensington where the tower is located.
Mangalile also said the embassy is ready to provide assistance to Filipino victims of the blaze.
The Embassy’s emergency number is +44 7802 790695 and e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Filipinos who are concerned about friends or relatives in London can call the Casualty Bureau on (+44) 800 0961 233 or (+44) 207 1580197.
London Fire Brigade said the fire had engulfed all floors from the second to the top of the 24-storey Grenfell Tower in west London, leaving at least 12 residents dead and many more seriously injured. The death toll is expected to rise.
Eyewitness reports describe people trapped by the fire desperately shouting from their windows for help.
Witness Samira Lamrani described how one woman wrapped a baby up “in some sort of thick blanket” and threw her from the ninth or tenth floor. “Miraculously the baby just sort of dropped in a straight line, and a guy just ran forward and the baby fell into his arms,” she said.
The fire is believed to have started due to a faulty fridge, but investigations are continuing.
There are also serious questions being asked about how it spread so quickly through the 1970s built tower block, which was refurbished and upgraded last year.
London Fire Brigade Commissioner Dany Cotton called it an “unprecedented incident,” adding that a “number of fatalities” had been confirmed.
“In my 29 years of being a firefighter, I have never, ever seen anything of this scale,” she said.