Hackney Council apologises to mum of disabled child who felt forced to choose between ‘drinking or bathing’
PUBLISHED: 15:00 04 June 2020 | UPDATED: 16:48 04 June 2020
A single mum in Hackney felt forced to choose between “being thirsty or bathing” her severely disabled child, after she was provided with no emergency water for seven days despite ongoing problems with her council property’s supply.
The Town Hall’s housing chief has apologised to Sarah Amerat after she had to fill up her pots and pans from the kitchen sink for a week to drink and flush the toilet after a valve failed in her water tank.
The mum-of-three was supported by local councillors as well as mutual aid volunteers who brought her small water bottles, but has since spoken out about the lack of emergency supplies to bathe.
Amerat said because her son is incontinent, he needs washing all the time: “They know I’m a single mum, a vulnerable family, that we’re shielded in isolation, so I can’t even go out and buy water.
“It got very unhygienic. You can’t even imagine, no water in the flush tank for the toilet. It was Ramadan, and I couldn’t concentrate on my prayers, and it was so hot.”
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Though council engineers fixed the family’s mains water supply on the first visit, the tank itself went unfixed for seven days from May 20 to 27.
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It is understood Amerat would have been given alternative arrangements had the problems not been logged as resolved by engineers on three occasions.
Amerat said the issue was passed back and forth between the council’s housing team and Thames Water for days.
To compound the issue, once it was eventually fixed on May 27, further defects caused the tank to overflow into the street.
A spokesperson for Hackney Special Education Crisis described it as a “complete nightmare”: “She was shunted from pillar to post without anyone willing to step up and help sort out the issues.
“It makes us wonder how many other vulnerable families are being failed in this way.”
Cllr Clayeon McKenzie, cabinet member for housing services, apologised for the problems during “an especially challenging time”.
He added: “We attended swiftly to these problems and were able to reinstate the drinking water supply to the home on our first visit.
“Unfortunately, it took us too long to get to the bottom of a separate issue which meant that problems with non-drinking water supply re-occurred despite being fixed during each visit.”
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