Anger and confusion as hundreds of homes evacuated in wake of Grenfell fire

Residents from a London estate which has been evacuated in the wake of the Grenfell Tower fire have expressed anger and confusion at unexpectedly being told they had to leave their homes.

Some 800 households on the Chalcots estate in Camden were told they would have to leave their homes on Friday as the council said “urgent fire safety works” needed to take place.

The evacuation took residents of the five towers on the estate by surprise as they were told late in the evening that they needed to pack up essential belongings and vacate their homes.

Residents were sent to emergency rest centres for the night and will be rehoused in temporary accommodation following an inspection that found the blocks used cladding similar to that on Grenfell Tower where a fire killed at least 79 people.

Mohammed Sharif, who has lived on the Chalcots estate since 2009, told ITV News he was “confused”, before adding “I don’t know where they are going to take me… where can I go”.

Another resident, Andrea Kevric, shared her frustrations at the fact that she had got to the sports centre where those being evacuated were being directed to find herself being sent to yet another place to find out where her and her epileptic child would be housed.

She said: “I have an epileptic child and they are telling me go to another building to find out where you can be given accommodation for tonight with specific needs.”

Fellow resident Ahmed Mohamed, 19, who lives in Taplow with his parents and two sisters, added that he thought the whole thing had been “a mess”.

Mr Mohamed, who was alerted by a neighbour at around 8.15pm that he and his family needed to leave, said: “Five of the blocks are evacuated, it was a mess, we only had five minutes to get our stuff.

“We had the meeting yesterday which I attended and they told us nothing about this. They said they’re going to make sure we’re safe, that’s all.”

Other residents voiced frustration at the short notice of the evacuations.

Taplow Tower resident Renee Williams, 90, told the Press Association: “No official came and told us what’s going on, I saw it on the TV so I packed an overnight bag. But now they’re telling us we’re going to be out of our homes for the next two to four weeks.

“It’s unbelievable. I understand that it’s for our safety but they can’t just ask us to evacuate with such short notice. There’s no organisation and it’s chaos.”

And Matiyas Solomon, 40, who was visiting the family of a Grenfell Tower victim when he discovered his home was being evacuated at around 9pm.

He said: “It’s too late to tell these people, they should have had in the morning time to decide.

“They had about nine days, they know all what is happening. They should have decided early or in the morning.”

As the evacuations continued into the early hours of the morning Camden Council confirmed that a rest centre set up to house people for the night in Swiss Cottage was “nearing capacity” so a second emergency shelter was being set up in Kings Cross.

It was also confirmed that as many as 200 hotel beds had been secured to provide accommodation to some of those evacuated although anyone with friends or family nearby were encouraged to stay with them if possible.

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