Residents in Lancaster West Estate, which includes Grenfell Tower, have told HuffPost UK they feeling even more “forgotten”, by the very people who are meant to help them following the devastating fire this week.
Anger is rising in the local community as residents feel their needs are falling on deaf ears, just as their concerns were ignored prior to Wednesday’s atrocity.
“They have a duty of care to us and they haven’t showed us one duty of care since this fire has taken place,” an estate resident identified only as Kim says. “We have been forgotten about, the council forgot us.”
The blaze that engulfed the 24-storey building shortly after 1am on Wednesday led to incredible acts of kindness from the community, with hundreds of volunteers offering to help sort and distribute the thousands of items that have been donated to the relief effort.
Grenfell Tower is the only high-rise building in the Lancaster West Estate, which comprises of 900 other apartments, split into smaller low-rise blocks.
Yet despite the overwhelming support offered to survivors, Zeyad Cred, a local resident who has been helping with the relief efforts since the early hours of Wednesday morning, asks HuffPost UK: “Why does it fall onto our community’s shoulders to organise everything?
“Why did it take more than 24 hours to have a designated area for all these car packs and donations coming to us... it shouldn’t have taken as long as it has.”
Residents are angry that there hasn’t been a stronger presence from their local authority the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea and the organisation in charge of Grenfell Tower Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation (TMO).
Eartha Pond, from Queen’s Park Community Council, tells HuffPost UK: “There has been an absolute lack of presence from the local council.
“All the organisations that said they have been collecting the donations have said there is no-one coordinating, it’s chaotic.”
Pond says volunteers need logistaical help and direction from the local council.
She warns: “The longer they leave it, the longer their presence is not here, not only do they [local residents] feel forgotten, they’re getting angry.
“They want answers, they need some information and they’re just getting nothing.”
Cred adds that there has “not been a positive response” from the council and TMO.
The 29-year-old tells HuffPost UK: “I understand that situations like this, and what happened, can’t really be planned... but the physical presence from the council and TMO, from what I have seen, I have been helping in the local centres in the last 48 hours, it has been non-existent in my eyes.”
Cred adds: “It just shocks me that what’s meant to be the wealthiest borough in London, we had no organisation in regards to contacting these emergency lines on behalf of the people that were in our presence, the people that were in despair, with nowhere to go, the people in confusion, the people who lost loved ones, the people who are still searching for loved ones, people who have come in that have had confirmation that loved ones are dead.
“And it just seems a bit of a shambles at the moment.”
TMO and the local council have been contacted for comment.