AHEAD of today’s fourth anniversary of the Grenfell Tower fire of 14th June 2017, survivors and bereaved relatives have condemned the lack of progress towards justice for Grenfell, with no-one held responsible, no prosecutions and some former residents still not rehoused!
Former Grenfell resident Joseph John said yesterday: ‘I’m a former resident of Grenfell Tower. I’m still in temporary accommodation hoping to get permanent accommodation soon. It’s been a long time and I’ve had enough. I’m still having flashbacks, I’m still not sleeping, I’m still struggling.’
Bereaved relative Nabil Choucar, who lost six members of his family in the fire, said yesterday: ‘I lost six family members in Grenfell Tower. I lost my mother, my sister, my brother-in-law and three nieces – Mina, Fatima and Zainab.
‘Four years on I fear that those responsible for the fire are going to get away with murder. It’s a shame that the public inquiry can’t be stopped, the criminal investigation completed and prosecutions put in place immediately.
‘None of my family made it out. I had hoped and prayed that they had made it out, but none made it out. I feel worse than what I was before. I was very deeply depressed and very upset.
‘I’d like to see prosecutions, people held accountable. I’d like to see new laws, regulations changed and the removal of cladding. More than a year ago the Chancellor put a billion aside to remove cladding and still until today they have not done so.
‘Also, former prime minister Teresa May, at the time promised people that they would be housed as quickly as possible, possibly within a couple of weeks. This is unacceptable, hypocritical. They talk about something and they don’t do it. It’s just a show, as if they’re doing something. Is this going to carry on for another five years?
‘There are disabled people, many people living in fear and they have still not learnt the lessons, because if it happened to their families this would have not happened, but because it happened to BAME families, this has dragged on and people are still living in fear.
‘They didn’t even pass the bill for disability safety in all council housing. We are still living in fear. Families are still living in high rises with dangerous Grenfell Tower type cladding. When are they going to be able to relax and have peace of mind?
‘I would love to see all the cladding removed and a safety feature for disabled evacuation. Safety must come before profit. When are they going to learn?’
In their 20th floor flat, Grenfell Tower survivor Emma O’Connor, 32, was awakened when she and her partner heard the sound of fire engines and smoke alarms from floors below.
Emma, who uses crutches due to arthritis, said: ‘We got the lift which was really silly because the smoke was already on our floor. It used to take us 10 minutes to get down the stairs.
‘As soon as I got downstairs outside the lobby area I knew how serious it was. I realised it was serious because of the firefighters, the look on their faces.
‘I’ve definitely got survivor’s guilt which gets worse on the anniversary as well. It’s just kind of like, some people actually did what I should have done like knock on people’s doors and say “there’s a fire you should probably get out”. Thankfully the TV didn’t show any jumpers, that was quite good they didn’t show them.’