Thursday, June 22, 2017

"Some come here who escaped but who want to talk about how they feel guilty somehow..."

Young child survivors and witnesses of the Grenfell Tower inferno are still turning up pleading for help in the nearby streets - while too frightened to fall asleep.
Kids whose parents either hauled them to safety or who watched in horror in the surrounding estates will remain in need not only in the weeks but years ahead, volunteers say.
Helpers on 24/7 duty at the nearby Westway Sports Centre told Metro of being haunted by scenes reminiscent of British Red Cross emergency responses in overseas warzones and natural disasters.

Debi Haden, part of the BRC psycho-social support team at the Westway Sports Centre, has previously helped out in places including Haiti after the 2009 earthquake, though declared: ‘I’ve never ever known a community come together quite like this.
‘Nothing’s affected me like this - hour after hour, day after day. Here in London.
‘But all the praise must go to everyone here, for how they’ve responded.’
But, as mourning relatives still openly weep in the surrounding streets, amid profusions of pleading missing posters and floral tributes - and plangently angry placards - mourners keep on approaching the sports centre’s indoor and outdoor teams for any assistance.
‘So many come and say they’re too scared to go to bed, go to sleep again - needing at least to cling to their parents in bed.’
The British Red Cross supported the relief efforts almost as soon as the blaze broke out in the early hours of Wednesday last week.
But in recent days - as millions of pounds were raised via various appeals - the charity took over overall co-ordination, now based at the nearby Westway sports centre.
Not only are food and practical provisions stacked up inside there, but desks, tents and children’s play areas remain permanently busy in the open air outside - over-arched by the Westway highway itself, as commemorated in song by the likes of The Clash and Blur frontman Damon Albarn.
Meanwhile, that burnt-out tower looms over not only well-to-do Holland Park and Notting Hill boulevards but North Kensington and Ladbroke Grove estates, sadness and anger linger in the air along with the singeing more than a week on.
And still the casualties keep coming, tentatively approaching for not only provisions or housing support but any solace at all.
Ms Haden said: ‘Some come here who escaped but who want to talk about how they feel guilty somehow, knowing that others they know have died.
‘This tower is part of a much larger community - the streets and homes all the way around, people are part of it and will know so many who’ve been lost.
‘The community are mourning the loss of that tower, because they so many of each other from everywhere here.
‘Those who are still here have lost people they know, that’s devastating - especially children who saw it all happen that night.
‘There are some coming in, asking us what happened - others saying how they somehow haven’t cried yet, and is that right?
‘We can try to refer people to other support, but a lot of the time it’s just listening to people talking about what they’ve seen, who they’ve lost, or simply crying.’
Metro readers have helped an appeal fund for the Grenfell Tower’s victims, casualties, survivors and families approach £2million.
The Kensington and Chelsea Foundation, whose donations go 100 per cent to those in need, can receive contributions via

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