“Suspicion of a cover-up” as Grenfell survivors challenge reported death toll


Grenfell survivors say at least 120 killed – amid concerns of council cover-up 

EIGHTY-SIX families who escaped the Grenfell Tower fire massacre have launched their own independent enquiries into the number of people killed – as distrust and concerns grow locally over how the authorities are reporting its aftermath. 

Survivors have former a group called ‘Grenfell United’ to build a picture of who was in the tower on the night of the deadly blaze, which burnt quickly through the building residents had warned was a death-trap. 

Sajad Jamalvatan, a Grenfell resident who established the group, has said they are sceptical of the officially declared death toll of 79 – and instead believes the actual numbers killed was above 120.  Shadow Home Secretary Dianne Abbott spoke of “hundreds of people” dying at Grenfell, given expectations of short-term lets, guests, undocumented migrants, and other unregistered visitors being in the 24 storey block when it became an inferno.

Read more – Grenfell anger: Class, housing and poverty drawn together in human tragedy

“We were expecting the TMO [tenant management organisation] to do this list for us, but we don’t think they are willing to help us,” Jamalvatan told The Guardian.

Originally the death toll was announced at just six, despite horrific eye witness reports emerging from residents and emergency service sources suggesting evidence of far higher casualty numbers. Authorities cite the difficulty of identifying remains amid the destruction of Grenfell for slow progress on casualty numbers. Yet community groups and London MP David Lammy, who lost a friend, artist Khadija Saye, in the fire, have raised concerns about the lack of information. 

He said the official death toll was “far, far too low” adding that “failure to provide updates of the true number that died is feeding suspicion of a cover-up”.

Two other organisations ‘Justice 4 Grenfell’ and visitors to the Rugby Portobello Trust have also been attempting to compile a list of victims and survivors. 

Yet the local council, Kensington and Chelsea, is preventing a full meeting of survivors on “public safety” grounds – despite it being accused of ignoring the community concerns that led to the deaths of towards 100 people.  

The offices of the council were stormed by protestors earlier this month over anger from the fire. There have been calls for charges of corporate manslaughter to be brought against those responsible. 

The survivors of the Hillsborough had to wait 28 years – after repeated media lies and establishment cover-ups by the police and political authorities – for some of those responsible to face charges. 96 people died at Hillsborough.

Picture courtesy of sarflondondunc

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