Grenfell Tower fire: Two missing sisters who lived on 20th floor found alive after uncle 'trawled' hospitals

But young girls' parents and baby sister remain unaccounted for

May Bulman
Sunday 18 June 2017 11:07 BST
At least 58 people died, or are missing, presumed dead, in the Grenfell Tower tragedy
At least 58 people died, or are missing, presumed dead, in the Grenfell Tower tragedy (AP/Kirsty Wigglesworth)

Two young sisters who lived on the 20th floor of Grenfell Tower have been found alive after their uncle "trawled" London hospitals in a desperate bid to find them.

Tazmin Belkadi, six, and Malek, eight, were reported missing after a devastating blaze ripped through the north Kensington building in the early hours of Wednesday morning, killing at least 17 people.

Adel Chaoui, their mother's cousin, confirmed that the the girls had been found receiving treatment for injuries in St Mary's Hospital. He said one of them as traumatised and “screaming”, while the other was in a coma.

The girls' parents, Farah Hamdan and Omar Belkadi, and their six-month-old sister, Leena — believed to be the youngest missing person — remain unaccounted for and have not been seen since the early hours of Wednesday.

Mr Chaoui told the Guardian it was unclear how the girls made it out of the 24-storey block alive or whether they were with their parents and sister when they fled the blaze.

He expressed frustration that the girls had not been identified because of police protocol that prevents hospitals and police from giving out details about victims.

“I was trawling hospitals and yesterday morning I found two of Farah’s children in St Mary’s,” Ms Chaoui said.

”It’s not because authorities contacted us but because we begged and cajoled a nurse who took pity and said there was a child upstairs who matched our description.

"When we went we noticed that her sibling was a few beds down, no one even knew they were related. Police are not identifying people... they are using protocols for terrorist incidents to manage civil disaster.”

Late on Wednesday night, Mr Chaoui, who appears to have created a Twitter account in order to appeal for information about his relatives, wrote in a series of tweets: “Casualty Bureau is not providing any response to families missing loved ones, desperate for some feedback.

“They have no access to calls I've made let alone police info. Answering machine service only. No response given. No one is authority informed us family were in hospital (unidentified seven and eight year olds). We found them ourselves trawling a St Mary's ward.

"We found one and then another a few beds down a few minutes later. No one knew who they were or tried to contact families for identification."

Mr Chaoui later told The Daily Telegraph: “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.”

Dozens of people are still missing after the 24-storey block went up in flames on Wednesday, and families are continuing to make urgent appeals as they desperately try to find loved ones.

The death toll, currently at 17, is expected to increase as the recovery operation proceeds. Of the nearly 80 people treated in hospital, 37 are still being treated and 17 remain in critical care.

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