Stratford tower block ‘like The Hunger Games’ after five days without water
PUBLISHED: 19:25 13 September 2017 | UPDATED: 09:30 14 September 2017
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Several residents of a Newham tower block say they have been forced to evacuate their homes after five days without water.
Forty flats in Green Point, Water Lane, Stratford, have had no water supply since 8pm on Friday due to a water tank leakage in its basement.
Newham Council today issued an apology to residents in the 10-storey building – many of whom are elderly or have children – for the “distress and inconvenience” caused, admitting “this emergency has not been handled in a timely manner”.
The local authority response has been criticised by tenants and leaseholders who say water bottles were not automatically distributed for the first few days unless requested.
One man who has a health condition requiring him to bathe in salty water allegedly did not initially receive any bottles despite asking for some.
Speaking to the Recorder anonymously, one female resident said: “It is like The Hunger Games for some residents because they [the council] said they cannot deliver the water to the flat doors because the neighbours might start stealing off each other.”
She added: “I have packed a bag and I am figuring out where to go because it is not safe anymore.”
The woman added she was concerned for her vulnerable neighbours, including a 92-year-old lady, who may be unable to leave or seek help from family or friends.
Other disgusted tenants, many of who also did not want to be named, described people having to resort to unsanitary measures in order to protect their homes.
One man said: “I have heard some residents’ toilets have been overflowing. One of the residents had to put on a glove to manually flush out the waste.”
The water is expected to be turned back on tomorrow evening after a new pump is sourced, delivered and installed, the council said.
However residents say this is the second time in eight months they have been left without water after the supply was off for more than 72 hours in January.
On Friday, residents on the ground floor were said to have smelled gas. After investigating the basement they found the floor containing pumps, tanks and electrics under three foot of water.
No council officials attended despite being notified so flat owners and tenants called the fire brigade who dredged the water.
Contractors for the council did attend the property on Saturday but said they could not fix the problem, giving no further advice to those inside about what to do.
Daniel Headley, 27, had his six-year daughter staying at the weekend and had to take her to the toilets at Morrisons.
He said: “It is neglectful because if they realised the whole building has no water they should be making sure everyone in the building is told this.
“What about the 92-year-old woman? She is not going to pick up the phone.”
Water bottles have now been distributed to all flats while a council letter was hand delivered to all properties last night.
However one person said more help was required. “How much bottled water do we need?” she said.
“Give us a water tanker so we can flush our toilets and wash our dinner plates.”
A spokeswoman for Newham Council said it was doing all it could to rectify the situation while the contractor responsible for the repairs was carrying out the work.
She said the most vulnerable people were being prioritised and Thames Water was in the process of installing a standpipe.
Cllr Terry Paul, mayoral advisor for housing, said an immediate investigation would be carried out into the handling of the emergency as well as the long repair time by the contractor.
He said: “I apologise to the residents of Green Point. While the council is not responsible for the repairs, it is responsible for the welfare of our residents and we are doing all we can to ensure that they are supported.”