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LONDON — U.K. officials have pledged to help the Syrian family of the first officially named victim of the London tower block fire to come to Britain and pay their respects.
The government department of the Home Office said Sunday that they were making arrangements for the family of Syrian refugee Mohammed Al Haj Ali to travel to the U.K. “in these terribly sad circumstances.”
The 23-year-old engineering student, who fled war-torn Syria to seek a better life in London, is the only victim of the Grenfell Tower blaze to be formally identified by the authorities so far.
Ali lived on the fourteenth floor of the building in northwest London and was reportedly separated from his brother Omar as the pair tried to flee Grenfell Tower, the Syria Solidarity Campaign, a U.K. activist group, said in a statement.
The student came to the U.K. in 2014 and the organisation said it was his dream to one day return to Syria and rebuild his country.
The Home Office's statement came as a petition demanding that the government allow Ali's family to attend his funeral surpassed 90,000 signatures.
Authorities said Saturday that 58 people were missing and presumed dead in the fire which tore through the apartment block early Wednesday. London’s Metropolitan Police Commander Stuart Cundy warned that number may rise.
Prime Minister Theresa May invited residents of Grenfell Tower to her official residence Saturday amid growing anger in the wake of the blaze.
May was met with jeers of "coward" when she visited the smoldering remains of the tower on Friday, having not met victims on her first visit.
Meanwhile on Sunday opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn said the local government where the fire broke out did not have the resources to deal with a crisis of this scale.
He told NBC News’s British partner ITV News that the emergency services and the community’s response to the incident had been “incredible.”
But added: "What was less effective was the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, because they seemed to lack the resources to deal with a crisis of this magnitude in their borough and yet they are the country's wealthiest borough."