Sceptical Grenfell residents create own missing list
13 July 2017 National News
Survivors of the Grenfell Tower fire are drawing up their own lists of people found safe, missing and presumed dead because of a lack of trust in the authorities in charge of the investigation.
For many, has come to symbolise not just official negligence but an increasing feeling of social inequality, and this is causing residents to question the accuracy of figures revealed by the police.
Mahad Egal and his family lived on the fourth floor of the tower and managed to escape the blaze.
Since that night, Mr Egal has spent every day knocking on doors, asking residents for information and collating any details he has into a list that he says is more reliable than that of the police.
“My list is still in progress but it is much more than 80 people presumed dead, more than one hundred, even,” he said.
“The official figures are not a fair reflection and as a resident of the tower I know more information about the families who were living there. If they had guests staying with them, for example.
“We know this because we are on the ground and we want the authorities to come and speak with us.”
Mahad has been supported in his investigation by childhood friend Karim Mussilhy, who lost his uncle in the fire.
Like many relatives, Karim is still awaiting official confirmation about his uncle and says he is frustrated at what seems to be a lack of action.
“It’s been a month and there have been no arrests, no named suspects.
“The least the police could tell us is that they are talking to the council today, or the tenant’s management organisation who were in charge of the management of the tower and had a duty of care.
“It just feels like the police aren’t chasing information and because of this we are having to carry out our own investigation into what happened to our loved ones.”
A software engineering student in Brussels has emerged as a credible collator of information about the Grenfell Tower.
Joshua Vantard, 26, has been using crowdsourcing techniques to create a database of names of those who have been found or who are missing. He estimates the death toll is in the 90s.
“I believe a lot more names of people are going to be released by the authorities as having perished; however, I am not sure it’s quite as high as people on social media seem to think it’s going to be,” he said.
“There is obviously a lot more hard work to be done.”
On Monday police said they believed 350 people were in the tower on the night of the fire, and around 80 not making it out.
They also means the recovery operation is painstaking and slow.
Metropolitan Police Commander Stuart Cundy, who is leading the operation, said: “I do not want there to be any hidden victims of this terrible tragedy.
“We have an absolute commitment to finding the answers – we know that will never be quick enough for those whose loved ones are missing.”