London fire: Relative cites ‘lack of co-ordination’ in response

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Nusul Islam has been to North Kensington for three days in a row, looking for news of his family members

As anger mounts over the Grenfell Tower fire, many relatives are finding it hard to get the information they are desperate for. One man told the BBC of his frustration at the official response.

He is looking for information – any information – about five members of his family.

Nusul Islam’s uncle, aunt and three cousins were on the 17th floor when the tower block caught fire early on Wednesday morning.

He fears the worst.

On Thursday, Friday and again on Saturday, he drove to North Kensington from his home in Hertfordshire and joined the throngs of people walking the streets around Latimer Road.

But with no central place to go, and no-one obvious to ask, he has been left frustrated.

The BBC spoke to Mr Islam within view of the charred tower block, just outside the cordon. Although the streets were busy with volunteers, church groups and people leaving tributes and messages, there was no central relief tent or place to go.

While there were police officers and some health workers there, the help that was visible in terms of donations and food being distributed was coming from various groups of volunteers.

Mr Islam says he called the Met Police information line on Thursday night and left his details expecting a call back, but it never came.

He heard a rumour that a doctor who had been on the 17th floor had a list of the people found there – but has been “on a wild goose chase” trying to find the doctor. Even trying variations of the name he was given, he was not able to find anyone who had heard of her.

He spoke to a Red Cross representative, who he says told him: “If you come across a list, please let us know.”

‘No-one to talk to’

“There’s no one here to co-ordinate,” he said.

“There’s no-one giving us information. There’s no-one to talk to.”

“It’s just the charities. Where are the government officials, where are the council officials?”

He says he appreciates that the building is dangerous to go inside but wants those in authority to “come down and co-ordinate something, show you actually care”.

He is worried that the anger felt on the ground could turn into riots, and does not want his relatives’ names to be remembered in conjunction with that.

The BBC has asked the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea for an interview but has received no response.

Outside the Westway sports centre where some tower residents are understood to be staying, a council media spokeswoman said only: “We are very pleased with all the donations we have received. We have had to stop accepting donations.”

The family members Mr Islam wants to find information about are his uncle Kamru Miah, aunt Rebeya Begum, and three cousins Mohammed Abdul Hamid, Mohammed Abdul Hanif, and Husna Begum.

“We are not really hopeful,” he said. But he wants to have someone to ask.



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