THE Philippine Embassy in London has confirmed that Filipinos were among those injured and affected by the massive fire that engulfed the 24-story Grenfell Tower in the British capital on Wednesday, June 14.
“A number of them are in the emergency shelters at St Clement’s Church, the St Francis of Assisi Church, and the Portobello Rugby Club on Walmer,” the embassy said in a statement without further specifying the number.
As of press time, authorities confirmed 12 casualties but warned the number may rise “during what will be a complex recovery operation over a number of days.”
More than 200 firefighters battled the inferno, which broke out past midnight when most residents were asleep. Witnesses described seeing people jumping out of the tower and children being thrown off the windows with hopes that people from below will catch them.
While the cause of fire was still under investigation, residents said they had repeatedly raised concerns over safety risks in the building.
“We repeatedly reported concerns to the Tenant Management Organisation of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea including fire safety concerns which were not investigated during the regeneration works,” David Collins, the former chair of the Grenfell Tower residents association, told BBC.
Collins said there were “concerns over location of boilers, concerns about escapes, concerns about fire escape lighting, the list goes on.”
In a statement, Kensington & Chelsea Foundation, which manages the Grenfell Tower, said they are “aware that concerns have been raised historically by residents.”
“We always take all concerns seriously and these will form part of our forthcoming investigations. While these investigations continue with our co-operation, our core priority at the moment is our residents,” it added.
They also expressed anew their “sincere and heartfelt condolences to all those who have been affected” of the “devastating event.”
The Philippine embassy, meanwhile, assured assistance to the affected Filipinos.
It said Filipinos can ask the Casualty Bureau for information about their relatives in London by dialing (0800) 0961 233 or (0020) 7158 0197.
Filipinos may also contact embassy through its emergency number +44 7802 790695 or e-mail address firstname.lastname@example.org. (AJPress)