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For days, there has been conflicting reports of the numbers of dead and missing. Few can quite believe the numbers are so low for a fire so catastrophic on a building full of 650 people, from young babies, to mothers with several children to the elderly and disabled stranded on the top floors. Reports from the ground say that apart from volunteers and the press, there was no council presence at Grenfell, no one to coordinate or consult or help. This must be what austeritised aid looks like. Non-existent.

Then reports came out from volunteers that hoardes of food, clothes and shoes were being packed away because they weren’t needed. Why not? There’s 650 people in that building after all, and the dead stand at 58.

Then families put up in bed and breakfasts began reporting they don’t have money or food or medicine or clothes despite a promise of £5M from the government for all those affected.

This charity offered shelter to any survivors who needed shelter in London through our refugee hosting programme, but the Kensington & Chelsea Borough Council website said nothing was needed, no accommodation, no food, no clothes. Theresa May is taking charge of the public inquiry, so there will be no inquest and the Grenfell families won’t be heard. Yesterday, the MP David Lammy, who lost a friend, a talented artist, Khadija Saye, in Grenfell, tweeted his suspicion that a whitewash is underway at Grenfell:

“Trust is low. Contractors are removing Grenfell details from their websites. What else are they deleting? Are the shredders running today?”

He has a point.

Yesterday the RSOE Emergency and Disaster Information Service website reported that out of 650 ppl affected at Grenfell, 30 are dead and 538 are missing. A day after this information was screenshot and circulated on social media the figure was “changed” to 58 dead and 0 missing out of 650 people affected. The official figures still tell us 58 and “rising”, with an update tomorrow.

And now local residents on the ground are saying that they were told that fire officers found 42 people, from children to the elderly, dead in one room at Grenfell. They were huddled together trying to stay safe until help arrived. Watch  their testimony.

When war or disaster happens in other countries, the British press are quite good at searching for testimony from people on the ground, instead of just government or official sources in order to get at the truth. Why is that testimony being ignored now? Why are volunteers being told to pack up and leave? How many are dead? How many are missing?

See also testimony from a firefighter who attended Grenfell, he mentions trying to rescue five people on the 23rd floor, possibly Rania Ibrahim.

R Qureshi

19 June 2017