“WAKE UP, YOU ARE DEALING WITH HUMAN BEINGS” THE STORY OF THE DISABLED RESIDENTS OF GRENFELL

With Neha Gohil Correspondent,
and Alpha Kamara Video Journalist

On 14 June 2017, a massive fire spread rapidly through a London tower block. The disaster led to the deaths of 72 people - mothers, fathers, grandparents, brothers, sisters, friends and children.

On 14 June 2017, a massive fire spread rapidly through a London tower block.
The disaster led to the deaths of 72 people - mothers, fathers, grandparents, brothers, sisters, friends and children.
The Grenfell Tower tragedy was one of the worst housing disasters to ever happen in the UK.
It sparked a debate about the treatment of people, safety and why many complaints of residents were not listened to.
Disabled people in particular were horribly affected by the Grenfell tragedy.

THE DISABLED RESIDENTS

Many of the flats in the tower block were home to disabled people.
One in five of the residents that died were disabled or vulnerable.
“40% of disabled residents of Grenfell Tower died in the fire and that just shouldn't have happened,” Fazilet Hadi of the charity Disability Rights UK told us.
Many disabled residents of the Grenfell Tower have a familiar story to tell of how warnings were ignored and their safety was put at risk. Their fight for change continues.
Emma O’Connor has a disability and lived high up in the tower.

Emma O’Connor, resident Grenfell Tower

Emma was given an official disability assessment in 2012 by the local council’s health team. That was 5 years before the fire. It said that she should be given a ground floor flat. Instead she was placed on the 20th floor.
Here’s a link to that official assessment, and you can have a read.
And this wasn’t just Emma’s experience - but also that of many Grenfell residents.
Survivors of the fire have been giving evidence to the Grenfell Inquiry - that is an official investigation looking into what happened and what led to the fire.

WHAT DISABLED RESIDENTS SAID BEFORE THE FIRE

The investigation has found that years before the fire, disabled residents raised issues about things like:
  • Being housed on higher floors
  • Lifts breaking down
  • Complaints being ignored
Mohammed Rasoul, fled the fire with his family, including his disabled father. He told us what housing managers need to do.

Mohammed Rasoul, resident Grenfell Tower

The local council - in an area of London called Kensington and Chelsea - has responded to what we have found out.
It has apologised for not doing more to help the bereaved, survivors and residents when they most needed help.
It also said that five years on from the tragedy, 198 households from Grenfell have been rehoused by the council, with three households remaining in “high-quality rented accommodation of their choosing”.
In addition, the council has prepared 195 personal emergency evacuation plans for vulnerable residents in the area who need extra support in an emergency.
The Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation, who managed the Grenfell Tower block on behalf of the council, declined to comment on questions raised in our report while the inquiry’s investigations continue.
The TMO said it exists only to support the Grenfell Tower Inquiry and all other legal proceedings associated with the Grenfell Tower Fire.
Here is an explanation about what happened at Grenfell 👇🏽

Credit: AP/Getty Images

Thank you to everyone who spoke to us for this Single.
Neha Gohill is a correspondent with The News Movement who is leading our coverage of housing in the UK. Alpha Kamara works with her, filming the interviews and creating the films.