Over the course of this week we have read and seen countless reports on what should have been done to prevent this awful tragedy. Theresa May’s chief of staff, Gavin Barwell, has come under question over his time as Housing Minister. Reportedly, a review of fire safety in tower blocks had been delayed for years. Why had this review not been a priority and why had it not been addressed by Gavin Barwell or any of the previous housing minsters? There had been calls for a review since 2009 when six people lost their lives in the Lakanal House, Camberwell blaze. Why did more residents have to die for fire safety to be taken seriously? These are questions that need answering and it will now fall on the newly appointed Minister of State for Housing and Planning, Alok SharmaMP, to make fire safety an urgent priority. As I write this, Theresa May has ordered a full public inquiry into the fire which has killed at least 30 people, with the death toll expected to rise significantly.
What has also surfaced since this tragedy is how the local residents’ concerns about their own safety were ignored. Grenfell Action Group has shared a list of blogs previously posted, warning of the poor fire safety standards at Grenfell Towers and other areas.
A list of previous posts can be read here:
It is clear lessons need to be learnt and it is harrowing that concerns were not taken seriously. For many, it is too late to say lessons need to be learnt and the incident has left questions over whether the residents’ concerns were ignored due to the fact they were working class. Was the cladding erected because the building was an eyesore to the tower blocks richer neighbors? Were safety issues ignored when the building was refurbished to save money? So many social issues have come to light from this incident that need to be addressed and questioned.
What has also come out of this tragedy are reports of bravery and compassion from the British public. Londoners have offered food and shelter to those affected and the emergency services have worked tirelessly. Unfortunately, in these situations a lot of us feel powerless and although we are limited to what we can do to help, donations are important and making your voice heard can make a difference. Below are a few links detailing ways you can help.
Sign a petition – This petition calls for all tenants of Grenfell Tower to be rehomed: https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/rehome-all-tenants-of-grenfell-tower
This petition is asking for it to be a legal requirement for all high-rise buildings to have adequate fire safety measures installed: https://www.change.org/p/theresa-may-mp-sprinklers-to-be-fitted-in-to-all-high-rise-buildingsutm_source=action_alert_sign&utm_
Donate – The Kensington & Chelsea Foundation are taking donations for those affected: https://www.justgiving.com/campaigns/charity/kandcfoundation/grenfell-tower
What you can do to help: http://www.bbc.co.uk/newsbeat/article/40272565/grenfell-tower-fire-this-is-what-you-can-do-to-help
Write to your local MP: http://www.parliament.uk/get-involved/contact-your-mp/