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Grenfell residents suffering ‘survivor guilt’ and need support

Public meeting hears of psychological trauma ahead of demonstration outside Town Hall

14 July, 2017 — By William McLennan

Grenfell Tower

MANY of the Grenfell Tower residents who escaped with their lives are experiencing suicidal thoughts triggered by “survivor guilt” and are not receiving essential physiological support, according to neighbours in North Kensington fighting for justice on their behalf.

The 24-storey tower block was largely destroyed by flames on June 14 and more than 80 people are believed to have died. Hundreds of people survived, with the majority still living in hotels or temporary accommodation. Survivors of the fire and their neighbours are furious that previous warnings on fire safety were ignored by the council and have also slammed their response to the tragedy.

Justice for Grenfell member Moira Samuels, a teacher who lives 300 metres from the burnt-out tower, told a public meeting on Wednesday night: “A lot the survivors are isolated in their hotels, a lot of them are very traumatised, a lot of them are suicidal, there is an enormous amount of survivor guilt. A lot of those emotional needs are not being met. That’s something we need to make sure we are not forgetting.”

The group has created a list of demands, led by the call for permanent accommodation to be provided for all survivors within Kensington and Chelsea.

Ms Samuels said there are 1,400 empty properties in Kensington and Chelsea, adding: “We are determined that whatever it takes, whether they have to requisition, whether they have to use their £300million re- serves. what they can so the survivors are housed within the borough.”

“They have to buy or do what they can so the survivors are housed within the borough.”

She also said that all survivors who had an uncertain immigration status should be given a “complete and utter amnesty”.

The group is also demanding that any authority figure responsible for leaving the build- ing with inadequate fire safety measures must be “held accountable and are prosecuted”.

A demonstration is to take place outside Kensington and Chelsea Town Hall at 6pm on July 19.

Ms Samuels said: “We want our voices heard, because the last council meeting they wouldn’t allow us in. So I would like to invite everybody to come and support us and help us to fight for justice for Grenfell.”

She also said that all survivors who had an uncertain immigration status should be given a “complete and utter amnesty”.

The group is also demanding that any authority figure responsible for leaving the building with inadequate fire safety measures must be “held accountable and are prosecuted”.

A demonstration is to take place outside Kensington and Chelsea Town Hall at 6pm on July 19.

Ms Samuels said: “We want our voices heard, because the last council meeting they wouldn’t allow us in. So I would like to invite everybody to come and support us and help us to fight for justice for Grenfell.”

 

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