Community rallies to aid victims

London has rallied to help the victims of the Grenfell Tower block fire, with essentials being collected at community centres for the hundreds left homeless.

As firefighters continue to tackle the blaze and search for victims in west London, appeals for food, drinks and clothing have been issued – with Sky News witnessing supplies being dropped by well-wishers at an evacuation point close to the smouldering building.

Volunteers were working furiously to prepare sandwiches for victims and members of the emergency services at The Rugby Portobello Trust, where people said they had seen an “unbelievable” response.

Tower fire: Donations and housing advice

:: LIVE: At least 12 dead in Grenfell Tower fire

Maggie Evans, who was helping manage the deluge of supplies, said: “We’re so impressed and grateful. The community has come out in droves.”

People wanting to give essential goods were being urged to take directions on what was needed and where as other collection points were also full to bursting.

Aid agencies have joined the humanitarian effort in west London
Aid agencies have joined the humanitarian effort in west London

:: ‘I saw woman throw baby from the window’

The British Red Cross said its volunteers were supporting people at the trust and were now directing people with donations to the nearby St Francis Church.

Arrangements were being made by the local council to help those forced from their homes to find temporary accommodation, with those affected currently being cared for at a number of reception centres.

The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea said rest centres were open at the Salvation Army offices on Portobello Road and Westway Sports Centre on Crowthorne Road.

Emma, a witness, says she saw people jumping from the burning building

‘People were jumping from their balconies’

Individuals also offered rooms in their own homes to those affected while local businesses including TalkTalk, which has its headquarters in the area, opened its doors.

TalkTalk spokeswoman Isobel Bradshaw said: “The office is open to anyone affected by it or emergency services who need a break or somewhere to rest.”

Rival EE said its local shops could also be used by victims to charge phones as they await news from relatives and friends caught up in the tragedy.

Communities outside London were also organising aid. A van loaded with supplies from residents of High Wycombe in Buckinghamshire left the town late morning.

A number of crowdfunding pages have been set up, with one – set up by Karolina Hanusova – raising almost £200,000 by 7pm.

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