After a tragic day in West London on Wednesday during which a horrific fire in the residential Grenfell Tower located in the borough of Kensington and Chelsea claimed the lives of at least 17 people and left more than 50 unaccounted for, it was the locals who were first to assist with the relief effort. Pop star Rita Ora, who grew up in the area and used to play in the tower block as a child, visited the site less than 24 hours after the infernal blaze and assisted by carrying water and supplies around the site together with her friends. The 26-year-old reportedly worked through the night to assist the victims of the tragedy as well as motivating people online to join in the effort.
A visibly emotional Ora was seen carrying donations from the public, lifting heavy bottles of water and sorting through bags of clothing
The singer was born in Priština, Kosovo in 1990 before her family emigrated to the United Kingdom when she was one
Ora joined a large group of Londoners who had gathered to support the devastated residents
The Kosovo-born singer also shared a clip of herself lending a helping hand on Snapchat, encouraging her followers to do the same
“Please come and help if you can”, she wrote alongside an image of herself driving to West London.
The singer wasn’t the only pop star to show her solidarity with the residents of Grenfell Tower, as her colleague Adele was spotted at the scene. The Tottenham-native Adele made an appearance at the vigil being held to support victims and survivors. On user shared images of the emotional star ‘hugging and comforting’ victims.
The selfless gesture came after Rita sent her prayers to the victims via Instagram when news broke out on Wednesday morning that the tower block had been burning for hours during the night. The How We Do singer shared details explaining how people can help while lamenting Grenfell’s personal meaning as one of her childhood hangouts.
Adele arrived at Grenfell Tower on Wednesday evening, and witnesses said she was “hugging and comforting anyone she could”
According to reports, the fire swept through the 27-storey tower block in just 15 minutes after a faulty fridge exploded. It is considered one of the worst in British history with at least 17 victims and more than 50 missing until this point in time. It is feared nobody on the top three floors of the building survived.
Rita was born Rita Sahatçiu (derived from the Turkish word saatçi meaning “watchmaker”), but her parents added the easier to pronounce Ora (meaning “time” in Albanian) when the family moved to London. Always proud of her London roots, she grew up around Earls Court, before later moving to Kensal Rise – not far away from where the catastrophic fire took place.
“This is my neighborhood. I can’t believe this is happening. My prayers are with everybody involved my heart is beating so fast. I used to play in that block – I want to do all I can do to help,” the pop star wrote along details about the locations members of the public could donate.
It has been confirmed that the delicate recovery operation in the aftermath of the fire will last for several days. Residents have already spoken about the safety shortcomings of the tower block, revealing the building had no working fire alarms, no sprinklers and the only staircase leading to safety was blocked.
An anonymous community leader working to locate victims believes nobody who lived on the top three residential floors survived and the building that was home to 600 people could soon collapse. “We have a list of missing people – there are so many. It’s possible there are more than 50, possibly hundreds,” he said.
Those who managed to flee the burning building said it was ‘hell on earth’ as they had to scramble over dead bodies to escape. Residents were seen throwing themselves and their children out of windows to avoid being burned to death, while others made ropes by tying bed sheets together or used them as makeshift parachutes and jumped.