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Conditions at the emergency accomodation point at the sports centre

ruthless roofless | 31.07.2005 00:19 | Birmingham

Day 2: Saturday July 30th 8:00 am

The Joseph Chamberlain Sports Centre was declared an official site for people who have been made homeless by the tornado to reside there until they can get back into their homes. Somewhere to stay in an emergency.

Over 120 people stayed there on the first night of the disaster. A local resident said that there has been no real organisation down there. This person has now spent the second night without going into his house to even retrieve a small amount of personal items. Police have been escorting people back into their homes to get stuff. In this case not even the Police would enter the building. The resident was told if you go in, it is at your own risk.

No real organisation

As of friday evening there was nobody overseeing the emergency accommodation down at the Sport Centre. It seems that staff who are working there are providing some basic needs. However, local residents have felt that they aren't very welcome there. There isn't even a basic soup kitchen setup where people can at least get hot food. Not even a hot water urn for tea and coffee.

M.P. Roger Godsiff said today that Birmingham City Council has said that 'they do not need any more money for emergency procedures' as 'everything is in place'. The Sports Centre I have been told has only been providing cotton sheets for people who have nothing and although sandwiches were provided there wasn't enough to go round.

A lot of people in Balsall Heath are beginning to show signs of deep emotional stress. Councillor Iqbal Hussein said he would attend a meeting with local residents at 7.00 am this morning. He failed to turn up. One resident who has no home and nowhere to stay was there from 5.00 am - 8.30 am waiting for the Councillor. His home is now scheduled for demolition.

People don't need broken promises in situations like what is happening here in Balsall Heath. People don't want councillors to say what they think the local residents want to hear. They want straight facts. Councillors who are spending time in a nice warm bed at night should at least expect to show at least a level of support for the situation some people are facing in this emergency situation. He was here on the streets rallying people to give him support when he wanted to be elected. What is he doing when they are in need of his help? His voice to tell authorities and bureaucracy what is actually happening on the streets and the level of support is needed in Balsall Heath and Sparkbrook where the damage is most prevalent.

People are not aware what will happen after a freak situation like this. It is not often that a tornado hits a built up area like this. They are experiencing it first hand and are trying to deal with it the best way possible. Bureaucrats who smile, break promises and say they are doing everything they can when they can't even bother to turn up for a meeting they had arranged with local residents are damaging already traumatised victims.

Here is a list of priorities that local residents feel should be addressed:

1. Houses that have no structural damage and are facing a situation where a lot of tiles are missing need to be covered with tarpaulin to assure that no further damage is being done to people's properties and possessions. The weather is looking increasing menacing. Due to the fact that it has been raining we are extremely worried about the reoccurrence of a down pour which will let rain in and cave in ceilings, damaging our possessions. A poor area like this means that people cannot afford the luxury of insuring their homes.

2. There needs to be some sign of basic communication systems in place. Information points where people can get updated. People on the streets with radios. The left hand does not seem to know what the right hand is doing. Gold, silver and bronze command posts for example. Communication is key in a situation like this

3. Appropriate accommodation and food for all the residents left homeless by this disaster. We have been told that Birmingham University is providing temporary accomadation for people who are homeless. They need to register a couple of miles away at the Sports Centre to get this.

4. Verbal support from people in the UK, and not cynical comments with people with obvious political agendas.

ruthless roofless


Display the following 2 comments

  1. NGO support — A C Baker
  2. the 'Church of Scientology' cult have parachuted in! — cult watch