NEWS

Grenfell Tower Survivors Accuse Authorities Of 'Serious Concerted Cover-Up' 100 Days After Tragedy

Death toll debate rages on.

22/09/2017 13:00

One hundred days has done nothing to quell the anger felt by Grenfell Tower survivors who on Friday accused authorities of being engaged in a “serious, concerted cover-up” over the death toll. 

As residents prepared to mark the milestone with a candle lit gathering this afternoon, the group fighting for their rights, Justice4Grenfell, issued a strongly worded statement taking aim at authorities for “doing everything in their power to downplay the scale of the disaster and to dehumanise the victims and the survivors”.

Labour MP Diane Abbott echoed the sentiment of failure, writing on Twitter that today marks “100 days that the government is failing survivors and those affected by the tragedy”. 

The outrage comes days after police probing the June 14 disaster said that the death toll may drop below 80, an earlier estimate by investigators that was met with “cynicism” from residents. Police also announced on Tuesday that they will consider individual as well as corporate manslaughter charges.

“One hundred days after the fire, not only do we still not know the final ‘official’ number of fatalities (considered by many in the local community to be closer to 200) we are now being told that the original, confirmed figure of 80 is likely to decrease,” Justice4Grenfell wrote. 

It added that survivors, bereaved families, evacuated residents and the wider community believe the death toll figure “cannot be true” 

100 days on there is an increasing sense that a serious, concerted cover-up is going on, that those responsible are doing everything in their power to downplay the scale of the disaster and to dehumanise the victims and the survivors." Justice4Grenfell

Speaking about wider problems the group said on the three month anniversary of the tragedy that, “nothing much had changed”.

“The wider local community maintains common humanity, empathy and love looking after the survivors whilst some public and statutory services continue to largely fail in their responsibilities and duty to the survivors, bereaved families, evacuated residents and the wider impacted community,” Justice4Grenfell wrote. 

Stefan Wermuth / Reuters
Some 80 people died in the blaze on June 14

The group added that “so many promises have been made and broken” by authorities since the disaster, adding that “so much pain, grief, despair, psychological trauma and anger has been endured by the survivors, bereaved families, evacuated residents and wider local community”.

The situation, the group surmised, continues to be an on-going “catalogue of blunders and failures”. 

Justice4Grenfell then went on to detail those failures, beginning with the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea failing to activate their own emergency plans on day one, followed by Theresa May’s decision to meet with emergency services but not survivors, on June 15.

The Prime Minister, Justice4Grenfell said, then made “the first of many broken promises”, stating that survivors would be rehoused, either temporarily or permanently, within 3 weeks.

PA Wire/PA Images
Yvette Williams, a coordinator for Justice 4 Grenfell, who have slammed authorities 100 days on from the disaster

More than three months on, the group wrote, “the majority” of survivors and evacuated residents remain in “totally unsuitable” hotel accommodation, “separated from each other and their community, unable to start to try and rebuild their shattered lives, stuck in terrible limbo”.

Just 34 households have been permanently rehoused, according to Justice4Grenfell, with a further 29 households now in temporary housing.

The figures are “shameful”, it said, adding: “It is doubly so when we know that RBKC has both the highest number of empty properties in the UK and the largest reserves of any UK council.”

Justice4Grenfell further attacked the council for failing to distribute the public’s donations and May for breaking her promise to consult the community over who would lead the inquiry into the disaster and its terms of reference. 

Judge Martin Moore-Bick’s was appointed “unsuitability”, Justice4Grenfell wrote on Friday and his hiring, “remains a live issue”. 

“A less appropriate individual would be hard to imagine,” Justice4Grenfell wrote, again making reference to a controversial ruling he made to rehouse a tenant, which was later overturned by the Supreme Court. 

The group further criticised the judge for the lack of diversity on the panel he appointed to help him: “This is another major source of concern.”

May was also slammed for her initial “opened-ended” amnesty for undocumented migrants, that was later reduced to 12 months. 

Justice 4 Grenfell is holding a candle lit gathering at the Memorial Wall, Bramley Road, at 4pm. 

Suggest a correction
Comments

CONVERSATIONS