Volunteers and staff at the UK charity Human Aid have been working since dawn to provide support and assistance to the stricken residents of Grenfell Tower in west London.
Many British Muslims were awake for Ramadan night prayers, breakfast and dawn prayers as the news came through, and many witnessed the tragedy on TV or at first hand as the horror unfolded. It was British Muslims returning from morning prayers who were able to alert their neighbours to the danger. Their intervention may have saved many lives, as survivors have reported not hearing fire alarms.
Emdadur Choudhury has been at Human Aid for eight years and is a volunteer co-ordinator and warehouse manager. He said,”The response from our community has been simply mental since we launched our appeal campaign at dawn this morning. People have called from Southampton and Birmingham to provide goods as well as financial aid to assist our efforts.
“People were sleeping peacefully in their beds, and now their world has been totally devastated. It is in situations like this that we come together, and I’m really proud of the amazing response. We have even had houses being offered as drop-off points. We are still accepting donations of water and clothes, and the team at Human Aid will take two van loads over to West London at 6.30pm.” If you can’t drop off your donation to Human Aid before then, deliver it anyway – as there will be more trips with the further rounds of donations.
“These people have lost everything including loved ones,” Emadadur added. “Some came out of the burning building with only clothes on their back and we urge everyone to donate what they can to help.
“Any decent human being would do what we are doing, and that has been the case with so many communities coming together. We watched it all unfold in the early morning, and the majority of us were all awake. We went to the East London Mosque and collected lots of water which we transported and distributed after early morning Fajr prayers. We are in constant contact and collaborating with the centres offering support in west London.”
Mosques, churches and community centres are all helping out in west London. Despite fasting on a blazing hot day, volunteers from Human Aid have been toiling all day to prepare emergency packs and sort out clothes and baby essentials.
Most of us observing Ramadan came home from night prayers, had breakfast and prayed the early morning Fajr prayers while watching the horror of Grenfell Towers unfold. Community teams were out with their packs in no time to offer support to those affected.
The local community has been immense. Local groceries have provided ingredients and a catering company has cooked a huge batch of meals for stricken families. The latest news reports have confirmed that six residents of Grenfell Tower have died, but the toll is bound to rise.
•Readers can still donate till 6pm today, and the team at Human Aid will take two vanloads of aid over at 6.30pm this evening.
•Items to donate:
children’s clothes and shoes
men and women’s clothes and shoes
toileteries for men, women and children, e.g., toothbrushes and paste, shower gels, etc.
food including biscuits, cereal bars, tinned food, etc.
money, which will be used to help the families get back on their feet
•East London drop off point:
Human Aid Warehouse, Skyrose Ltd, Pinchin Street, London E1 1SD
Contact no. 07599-042 478.
•Read more about it:
Tragedy tower: could it happen here?