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East End families 20 hours in the cold as power goes down

PUBLISHED: 18:00 13 January 2010 | UPDATED: 15:28 05 October 2010

Kids wrap up... with just a candle for light and warmth

Kids wrap up... with just a candle for light and warmth

Carmen Valino

HUNDREDS of families have been without heating, electricity and hot water for 20 hours during the Big Freeze in London’s East End. Children wrapped in blankets, sitting in the dark with only candles to see by as the winter snows continued

By Else Kvist Picture: Carmen Valino

HUNDREDS of families have been without heating, electricity and hot water for 20 hours during the Big Freeze in London's East End.

Children (pictured) wrapped in blankets, sitting in the dark with only candles to see by.

Some families have even been without any mains water as the bitter winter snows continued to grip the South East.

It took Tower Hamlets Homes 18 hours to get blankets and hot-water bottles to the beleaguered families on Stepney's Pitsea Estate, according to some tenants.

The families were without heat or light from 5am Tuesday until after 1am yesterday after an underground power cable went down.

Some families, including the elderly and those with babies, stayed overnight in their community centre because their homes were too cold.

"It's freezing cold and elderly people living on their own can't even make a hot drink," tenant Elaine King told the East London Advertiser.

"Some of my neighbours don't even have any water because their pumping system is affected.

"The fault was reported to EDF Energy at 7.30am yesterday, but no engineer came for nearly four hours."

She added: "The landlords finally came after nine hours with blankets and water bottles."

All but four of the 15 blocks on the estate, which is powered by a communal boiler, were hit.

Blankets and drinking water were provided and a heating generator set up in the community hall, a Town Hall spokesman confirmed.

EDF Energy later said sorry for taking longer than they should have to reach the estate, but they said they had another emergency. A team of engineers worked into the night to repair the cable.


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