As I woke up early one Wednesday morning I couldn't believe the images appearing on the news. Another huge tragedy had hit London but this time lives had been lost through negligence and preventable circumstances. The Grenfell Tower in Latimer Road had caught fire and was by now completely engulfed in flames and smoking heavily into the morning sky. The blaze had ripped through the building so rapidly, noone could have foreseen how immense this fire would have turned out to be and quite how many lives would be lost.
Living in West London we're quite used to the sound of helicopters flying overhead at night but on this particular night we didn't hear a thing so we were really shocked to witness these horrific and very distressing scenes. People were hurt, people were missing, people were screaming, people were crying out for help, people were trapped and unable to escape. People were shining torches and mobile phones to get attention. People became so desperate, fearing for their lives that they were either leaping from the building or throwing their babies out of windows in the hope of saving their lives. People were being killed by the fumes and some harrowingly burnt alive. How terrifying and painful their final moments must have been, it's enough to send shivers down your spine.
Once the fire was finally out, the ominous building has stood very prominent and more misery has since followed. The lack of help and support from not only the local authority but also the government was inhuman. Not one person in power was seen sorting out the aftermath. There has been a public outcry for help but where did the help come from? The only ones to be seen and heard and doing the groundwork have been the local churches, mosques, groups and volunteers. Where was the Official Response Team and the Authorities? They really failed when this community needed them. The sheer lack of official support showed utter incompetence on the Authorities part.
Government or Local Government officials should have been the first on the scene. They should have taken over a few local buildings and directed all victims, friends and families in their direction. These officials should have all worn bibs/uniforms so that people would know who to turn to in their time of need. People should have been registered and helped to locate their missing loved ones straight away, checking with local hospitals making enquiries on who had been admitted. Survivors should have been immediately put up in temporary accommodation/local hotels that very first day instead of having to take shelter in centres. Some of which are still there today. Their treatment has been unbelievably appalling.
These officials could have then appointed and directed volunteers. But nothing... where were these people? If they have been
sorting things out, they have been very invisible. There has been no leadership whatsoever from those we vote in and expect to lead us in times of trouble. The public has been seen doing all the work, it has done a phenomenal job working together, unified, side by side. Firstly, helping the survivors, secondly helping locate missing family members and finally sorting through all the kind donations of food and clothing which have been flooding in constantly. Offering comfort and emotional support to those in this time of grief, anguish and need - these people have been heroic.
Seeing the local community come together as well as help from all over the UK has been truly heartwarming. An outpouring
of unity, love and generosity suddenly appeared from nowhere, especially after such a challenging year and awful few
months. For a moment this huge tragedy brought the nation together again.
It is coming to light that the Grenfell Tower was a death trap and that greed and bad refurbishment choices played a huge part in this avoidable tragedy. It has also really demonstrated the lack of care in social care. The inequality of our state, austerity and the class divide between the rich and the poor has never been so visible - this is the richest and poorest borough in London.
In all of this, we cannot fault the emergency services, they reacted extremely quickly and did everything they could to save these poor people but there was no hope keeping this fire under control. It was pure chaos, never before seen in recent times in London.
- Why were residents told to stay in their flats? (After 9-11 I thought the lesson learnt was to evacuate asap)
- Why weren't there any fire blankets/extinguishers available?
- Why weren't there any sprinklers?
- Why weren't there any extremely loud fire alarms, in flats as well as communal areas?
- Why wasn't there a loud evacuate tannoy message?
- Why wasn't there more than one escape route/staircase?
- Why was the equipment inadequate and no high ladders available?
- Why weren't there any large trampolines available?
- Why weren't residents advised to flood the building - fill baths?
- Why weren't water planes used?
- Why wasn't a helicopter rescue considered early on?
- Why didn't anyone consider how high the water canons could reach?
- Why do we have fire drills and marshalls in office buildings but never in residential buildings?
- Why don't we have smoke masks available for every resident?
- Why don't we have fire proof clothing in case of a fire?
- Why don't we have small fire extinguishers in all homes?
- Why don't we have exterior fire escapes in the UK?
and last but not least...
- Why was this cheap cladding used?
This list may sound crazy and some points aren't really practical but we need to now question everything in order to save lives in the future.
definitely highlighted how fragile we all are. London came to a shocking standstill. It was London and humanity at its worst and at its best. Those responsible should be made accountable and forced to visit the site so that they can experience this frightful horror first hand. This tragic loss of life needs to be investigated thoroughly so that it never happens again.
most likely be in the hundreds and some may never be accounted for or even identified. Now is the time for reflection and change. We failed the victims of Grenfell Tower, our brothers and sisters, but we will stand united in times of grief and will fight until justice has prevailed. Never to be forgotten! May they all Rest in Peace. God Bless!