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Seven Years Later, Grenfell Victims Are Still “Walking Unhealed”

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Many of the victims of the Grenfell Tower disaster still feel “forgotten” and identify as “walking unhealed” seven years after the tragedy. Lancaster West Estate expressed their displeasure with the continual disruptions caused by renovation work and the lack of support.

A longtime resident and key witness in the Grenfell Inquiry, Sami Hannachi thought back to the night of the fire when his friend Steve Power died attempting to save his pets and daughter. Hannachi bemoaned the community’s ongoing struggles, saying that their lives were constantly interrupted by construction noise and an absence of normalcy.

The tenants’ concerns were noted by the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, which also pointed out that extra help and temporary housing had been provided, and that noisy construction was restricted to weekdays. Several locals, including former chair of the residents’ association Jacqui Haynes, believe that insufficient support has been provided and that the pain experienced by the community has gone unnoticed despite these efforts.

The Justice4Grenfell group’s lawyer and activist Yvette Williams stressed the fire’s long-lasting effects and said that justice for the victims and their families is still elusive. Marcia Robinson and her volunteers created Hope Gardens, a communal park that still acts as a major hub of support, conducting events and offering a space for introspection and camaraderie.

People who had been impacted by other tragedies, such the pandemic and the Infected Blood scandal, came together to mark the anniversary of the fire by joining a silent walk and holding signs that demanded everyone have access to safe and secure housing.

Elizabeth Campbell, the leader of Kensington and Chelsea Council, acknowledged the council’s previous shortcomings and pledged to take lessons from the Grenfell Inquiry findings, which is expected in September. Rebuilding trust and making sure that a catastrophe like this never happens are the council’s goals.

The continuous fight for justice and healing highlights the profound wounds caused by the Grenfell Tower disaster, as the community waits for the final inquiry findings.

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