Grenfell five years on: 'Lack of justice is torture,' says nephew of man who died in blaze
A man whose uncle died in the Grenfell Tower fire has described the "lack of justice" in the five years since the tragedy as “torture” and said it has prevented him being able to grieve.
Karim Mussilhy, 36, said the fight for his uncle, Hesham Rahman, “gets harder and harder the longer it goes on” and warned another Grenfell could happen.
“This is torture, we are being tortured. We can’t move on. We can’t grieve," the father-of-two said.
Tuesday marks the five-year anniversary of the tower block fire that killed 72 people in west London.
Mr Mussilhy, who is part of the Grenfell United campaign group, warned that “Grenfell Two” will happen if things stay the same.
“Can another Grenfell happen tomorrow? Yes, it can. And if it does, are people safe? No, they’re not.
“Do our firefighters have the right equipment and training to save people? No, they don’t. What have we done? What have we learned since Grenfell?”
Other members of the community said they feel dehumanised and cannot fully heal until there is justice.
Samia Badani, 47, who lives in Bramley House near the tower described the blaze as "sheer devastation".
She said: "How do you grow out of devastation? We don’t have closure, we don’t have justice and we don’t have change.
“And we are not asking for much – we’re just asking to be treated as human beings.”
The cladding used on Grenfell Tower, which allowed the deadly blaze to spread rapidly, was banned from use on new buildings last month by the government.
Residents who live in buildings with the dangerous cladding have been told it will have to be removed at a cost that falls to the developers of the buildings.
However, some residents say that in the meantime they have been forced to pay thousands of pounds to hire external fire wardens to patrol their building.
Ritu Saha, from Bromley, was one of the first residents in the country to be told her flat was covered in the same dangerous cladding as Grenfell Tower.
“The 57 people in our building have spent at least £650,000-£700,000 on fire wardens alone, which we will never get back,” the 47-year-old university administrator said.
Speaking in the House of Commons on Thursday, Communities Secretary Michael Gove apologised for the government’s response over the last five years.
He said: “Again, I want to apologise to the bereaved, to relatives and survivors for the fact that the government over the last five years has sometimes been too slow in acting… sometimes we have behaved in a way which has been insensitive.”
A government housing spokesperson said it expects the UK's biggest housebuilders to act "swiftly" to fix their unsafe buildings.
“We are bringing forward the most far-reaching legal protections ever for leaseholders on building safety," a spokesperson for the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities said.
“We have created new powers in the Building Safety Act that can force developers and building owners to compensate leaseholders for money already paid out for fire safety measures such as fire alarms.
“The Act also overrides agreements that seek to get round the measures we have put in place to protect qualifying leaseholders from future cladding costs.”