By British Red Cross

The British Red Cross has launched an appeal to help people affected by a major fire that destroyed a tower block in London.

Money will be given to people affected by the blaze, including those who have lost everything, to buy the things they need. Chief executive of the British Red Cross, Mike Adamson, said: “The people living in Grenfell Tower have suffered an unimaginable tragedy. Our hearts go out to all those who have lost so much.” The appeal is being launched by the Red Cross and the local authority, Kensington and Chelsea Council. “We are now launching this national appeal to support those people who have lost everything, so they can receive financial help as soon as possible,” said Adamson.

 

Community comes together in wake of crisis

“The community spirit is absolutely incredible,” said Phil Osler, a British Red Cross volunteer who has been helping at a rest centre for people affected by the fire. “There is a constant stream of people coming in with offers of help – clothing, toiletries, food – everybody coming together, regardless of background or religion,” he said.

The 61-year-old was among the first group of Red Cross volunteers to arrive at the centre, just a few hours after the fire broke out on 14 June. “When we got to the rest centre we set about talking to people, making sure they had plenty of water and drinks,” he explained. “The main thing is listening. It may be you think they need clothing but when you listen to them, what they really need at that moment is a cup of tea and someone to talk to.”

At its peak, there were about 200 people at the centre. Many had lost their homes and everything they own. Others were desperately seeking news about missing loved ones.

Dara Leonard, also a Red Cross volunteer said: “The first thing we bear in mind is that we are there to support people – listening to what they say. Sometimes that means letting them vent, on occasions it is a tsunami of emotion.”