‘Grenfell fire left us numb’


HEARTBREAK: Hosna and
Komru Miah; (below right) the
victims of the Grenfell Tower
fire; and (below) Omar Salha
HEARTBREAK: Hosna and Komru Miah; (below right) the victims of the Grenfell Tower fire; and (below) Omar Salha

by NADEEM BADSHAH VOLUNTEERS RECALL EXTENT OF TOWER TRAGEDY A YEAR ON A PhD scholar has told of the “harrowing experi­ence” of helping to bury around 45 victims of the Grenfell Tower fire with a team of volunteers. Omar Salha is part of the Grenfell Muslim Re­sponse Unit (GMRU) set up in the wake of the blaze in west London which killed 72 people. Britain will mark one year since the tragedy on June 14. The GMRU has helped bereaved families, those forced to find a new home and supported individu­als in temporary accommodation. It also arranged for translators, legal aid, counselling, and helped families identify loves ones for the burials. Among the victims of Grenfell were Bangladeshi family Komru Miah, 82; his wife Razia Begum, 65; and their children Abdul Hanif, 29; Abdul Hamid, 26; and Hosna Begum Tanima, 22. The children stayed in the flat and prayed with their parents, re­fusing to leave them as the fire took hold. In an interview with Eastern Eye, Salha said the GMRU worked with the coroner’s office, mosques and Christian cemeteries to organise 40-45 funerals. He said: “It was a harrowing experience; none of us was experienced in this field and we were deal­ing with one of the most tragic experiences since World War Two. “With little external support we had to learn quick. It was quite surreal. Week in, week out, it was like a funeral service. Handling transportation for families, prayers, going to the ceremony. “It was like someone playing the same foot­age in my head again and again. The emo­tions, the depressed and distraught feeling. “You almost felt numb with the num­ber of funerals we organised. The fam­ilies came first, gaining some sort of closure as they had to wait so long for them to be identified.” Salha,…

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