Advertising

Grenfell Tower grandmother ‘likened treatment to torture as a political prisoner’

UK News | Published:

The 66-year-old had fled violence in Eritrea, but said she felt equally as anguished by Kensington and Chelsea Council’s response to the fire.

The 66-year-old’s daughter spoke of the hardship during a council meeting reviewing the response to the fire (PA)

A grandmother who was living on the the 23rd floor of Grenfell Tower has compared her treatment by authorities to being “tortured” as a political prisoner, her daughter has claimed.

The 66-year-old Eritrean refugee was not in her flat on the night of the fire, staying instead with her daughter, who was also a former resident.

The younger woman, who asked not to be named, told a council meeting that her mother had felt shunned by mental health services and misled by housing officers.

Despite narrowly avoiding death that night in Grenfell Tower, the family have felt “penalised for being alive”, the daughter told councillors from the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea (RBKC) at Notting Hill Methodist Church.

A refugee from Eritrea, the grandmother hoped for a better life in the UK
A refugee from Eritrea, the grandmother hoped for a better life in the UK (Jonathan Brady/PA)

Her mother, still homeless, was bounced from housing officer to housing officer over the coming months, but has not secured suitable accommodation, it was claimed.

The daughter told the hearing: “My mum is going to be 67 on Tuesday and she is still in a hotel – she has been in a hotel for six months.

“She is a refugee who lost her home in Eritrea who came here, but the thing that has been most traumatic for us has been dealing with members of the RBKC team, being taken from pillar to post.”

Advertising

Seventy-one people were killed in the June 14 inferno
Seventy-one people were killed in the June 14 inferno (Jonathan Brady/PA)

“If that is not mental health, I don’t know what is.”

The daughter said she had attended two surgeries held by an MP to flag up concerns about the adequacy of services offered to survivors.

She said: “The lack of empathy, the constant emails I have to send to people to do their job properly and with reasonable care.”

Advertising

The family complained of feeling
The family complained of feeling “penalised” for surviving the fire (Lauren Hurley/PA)

“You said this is history – this has not been history for me, I’ve lived this every day for the last six months.

“Each time I see my son I’m so grateful because I know had I stayed, I would have perished.”

Notting Hill Methodist Church, yards from Grenfell Tower, is now a hub of activity for the community
Notting Hill Methodist Church, yards from Grenfell Tower, is now a hub of activity for the community (Peter Cary/PA)

“But by having survived we are feeling penalised for being alive, that is how it feels.”

One councillor said her experience was a “disgrace” and NHS staff in attendance said it was “unacceptable” the pair were discharged, adding they were “really sorry” about the failures.

Sorry, we are not accepting comments on this article.

Advertising

Top stories

Advertising

More from Shropshire Star

UK & International News