4,000 doors in Grenfell area set to be replaced

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Four thousand doors in homes in the Grenfell Tower borough are set to be replaced at a cost of £3.5 million.

The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea is considering replacing all flat doors with ones which are fire-resistant for 30 minutes, the time stipulated in current building regulation standards.

The proposal comes after it was revealed in March that an undamaged door from the Grenfell Tower block was tested and found it could only withstand a blaze for 15 minutes, despite being designed to hold out for half an hour.

“This is not currently a legislative requirement, but this may change following the completion of the current building regulations review,” the council said.

Families and friends of the 72 people who died in the tragedy have been paying tribute at a public inquiry which started last week.

Grenfell victim Berkti Haftom
Image: Berkti Haftom was 10 weeks pregnant when she died

On Tuesday, the sisters of Berkti Haftom, 29, who died alongside her 12-year-old son, revealed she was 10 weeks pregnant when she died.

Meanwhile, a new report has found that voluntary organisations were forced to fill a gap left by a lack of official direction following the fire.

The authorities’ response has been likened to that of a developing country by the head of Muslim Aid, who commissioned the report and was one of the main charities responding to the tragedy in June last year.

The report – Mind The Gap: A Review Of The Voluntary Sector Response To The Grenfell Tragedy – said the institutional response to the disaster was “badly flawed in the first crucial days, and the damage that resulted has been difficult to repair”, and that the voluntary sector was “very much on the front line”.

“The consequences of the disaster were compounded by the weak leadership of the response initially led by the local council, which was slow to provide direction, co-ordination and information, and to address multiple pressing needs,” the report said.

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Video: The children of Grenfell tower

It said the community filled in the void, particularly in the first few weeks, despite having no experience or training in emergency response.

The report added that Grenfell would be easy to dismiss as “a one-off, compounded by the failings of a particularly flawed local authority”.

However, it said there are aspects which could happen again “at a time when the frequency of disasters in the UK is likely to increase due to climate change, vulnerability to terror attacks and the inherent risks of life in crowded, unequal cities”.

The report concluded: “The Grenfell Tower disaster must be a wake-up call to those in a position to effect change and find 21st century solutions to 21st century challenges.”

It recognised that, in certain areas, the voluntary sector also “came up short”.

Photos of the Grenfell victims were laid out in Parliament Square ahead of the start of the inquiry
Image: Photos of the Grenfell victims were laid out ahead of the start of the inquiry

Muslim Aid chief executive Jehangir Malik, who coordinated volunteers on the ground, said: “The spirit of humanitarian action displayed mainly by the community itself and supported by an array of local organisations and businesses, as well as individual volunteers and representatives from external organisations, filled the void where there was a lack of official direction, co-ordination and information.

“I would have expected this chaos in a developing country, because almost always there is poor infrastructure.

More from Grenfell Tower

“I honestly thought we had better disaster preparedness and response systems here in the UK.

“We are now asking for lessons to be learned and for greater co-ordination of the voluntary organisations with local authorities, including as part of national emergency response structures.”

From – SkyNews

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