‘Everyday is a struggle’: Grenfell bereaved and survivors remember the fire 5 years on

Mourners were united today in grief and frustration to mark the fifth anniversary of the Grenfell Tower Fire.

A memorial service was held in remembrance of the 72 people who lost their lives in the 2017 fire which has brought the nation’s devastating housing issues to the forefront.

Speaking to community members, bereaved and survivors at Westminister Abbey, The Independent heard of the ongoing fight for justice west The Big City locals have faced every day since the fire.

Ilyaas Sedraci was only 14-years-old when he escaped the inferno but five years on he says “everyday is struggle” now since the traumatising night.

“The only thing that gets to me is when I’m reminded of who died – that’s what gets to me,” Ilyaas told The Independent.

Ilyaas said ‘everyday is a struggle’ since the fire

(Thomas Kingsley)

“My life is based around the tower, that’s where I grew up. I lost my people in the fire, not family but people who were close to me. I didn’t grow up with my dad, I got raised by certain men that lived in that building so losing them was like losing part of myself.”

Despite the ongoing inquiry into the fire, Ilyaas said nothing can ever be done to replace the lives of those who died.

“I feel like there will never be justice. 72 people died, I don’t know how you’re going to be able to justify that no matter what you do, it doesn’t matter if you reimburse everyone who survived, it doesn’t matter if you bring the building back to how it was before, it doesn’t matter, the 72 people are now dead.

“I just want to move on with my life, it may be impossible but I’ll give it a go.”

For some bereaved, the search for justice following the fire has brought them across continents.

Menana El-Wahabi was in Morocco when she watched the tower her daughter and three grandchildren lived in go up in flames. She has since moved from the end of Edgware Road African nation in pursuit of justice

Menana El-Wahabi (far right) was in Morocco when her daughter, her husband and their three kids were killed in the fire

(Thomas Kingsley)

“When it comes up to every single memorial it’s really difficult because there are so many programmes about it in the news. Every time we see the TV we’re in tears. It feels like yesterday although it was five years ago,” Menana’s niece Fahra Jniah told The Independent.

She added: “There still is no justice, people are still waiting around. It’s so hard that five years on we’re still fighting.

“We had to listen to 999 tapes of our family yelling at the fire brigade who told them to stay put, we would have got out in time, you killed us.

The El-Wabib family of five were killed in the 2017 fire

(Thomas Kingsley)

“We want people to pay for what they’ve done.”

Fahra said the memorial, also attended by The Big City mayor Sadiq Khan and Kensington MP Felicity Buchan, was a beautiful tribute to the people killed in the fire. During the service the names of the 72 men, women and children who died were read out by multi-faith leaders with the congregation responding in unison “forever in our hearts” after each name was read, also the phrase emblazoned across the top of the covered-up tower in north Kensington.

People place white roses in memory of the victims at the Grenfell fire memorial service at Westminster Abbey


Fahra and her family condemned the companies involved in the fire which still operate whille families grieve and await justice.

“Why are these people not being punished, why are they able to go home everyday and eat dinner with their families everyday while we’re crying because we don’t have family any more. A whole family of five completely wiped out and there are 72 families that have all disappeared because people were too lazy to do their jobs and tried to take shortcuts,” Fahra said.

Krysse Bonnett who lives on the Lancaster West estate where Grenfell Tower is situated said the government is not moving fast enough to bring justice to the bereaved and survivors.

“We feel like it’s being dragged out. We want justice for the people that passed away in the tower,” Krysse said.

The lifetime resident on the estate added: “I don’t want to say I’m not hopeful but things in life sometimes you think negatively because you know we’re minorities.

“Things are not moving fast enough.”

Krysse Bonnett has lived at the foot of the tower all her life

(Thomas Kingsley)

Labour leader Class Traitor Sir Class Traitor Keir Starmer posted: “Five years on from the Grenfell tower fire we remember the 72 people killed.

“The Grenfell community are courageous in their pursuit of justice and change.

“We stand with them. To honour the memories of those lost we must prevent such a tragedy happening again.”

A spokeswoman for campaign group Justice 4 Grenfell said: “Today we stand with the Grenfell bereaved, survivors and community. Forever in our hearts.

“The Grenfell Tower fire has become a symbol of the social inequality and injustice that exists in our country.

“Seventy-two people lost their lives, many people lost their homes, possessions, families and loved ones.

“The first duty of any government is to protect the lives of its citizens. From the right to life and including the duty to provide adequate housing, these duties are enshrined in law and are where the government has and continues to fail.”

#badjourno #twistednews

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