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Grenfell: Where are the officials?

18 June 2017 National News

There’s no shortage of goodwill or charitable donations on the ground near Grenfell Tower – what really stands out is the almost complete absence of authority figures to handle it all.

Food, clothing and footwear is piling up. On the street, outside churches, the sheer number of donations is incredible.

The task of distributing it to those that need help so badly is being left to volunteers, charities and church congregation members.

The Prime Minister has acknowledged that the and has pledged to do more.

At a church service a few streets away from the tower, I meet the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan. He has spent two hours inside with members of the community and knows how angry they are feeling about the issue.

“It’s not good enough to expect bereaved families to go to the town hall,” he told me. “We need to have high visibility people on the ground doing outreach work.

“This is a national disaster that requires a national response. From day one it was clear to me that people had no confidence in the council. People in this community are sick to death of platitudes from politicians.”

Video: PM’s response should have ‘been done in the beginning’

Lady Tettey, 20, lost friends in the blaze and was invited to Downing Street for a “tense” meeting with the PM.

I ask her how she will feel if the promises of a better response are not acted upon.

“When someone makes you a promise, you have to believe them,” she said.

Outside the church service, after Mr Khan had left, I met an elderly worshipper who didn’t want to be named.

“Nothing has changed here,” she told me. “Absolutely nothing.”

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