Up to 150 families were evacuated from their homes in a tower block after pipes were ruptured during repair work. All flats on the 19-floor Fairford House, in Kennington, had to leave on Tuesday evening and there has been no water or electricity since then.
Some slept on the floor of a ground-level rest room in the building on Tuesday night, but some returned to their flats by torchlight on Wednesday night.
An emergency meeting of Lambeth housing chiefs yesterday morning was planning how to restore water and electricity to the building.
Residents were being given breakfast and evening meals and bottles of water – and nearby leisure centres have allowed residents to use their shower and hot water facilities.
A water leak on the ninth floor caused water damage to many of the flats below, as well as the electrical supply room.
The leak has been fixed and damage has been minimal, but it has been unsafe to turn on the electric supply, so the whole block has been without power.
That has meant there is no electricity supply to the pump which supplies water to the building. One resident, who did not want to be named, said: “One elderly man had to sleep on a bench on Tuesday night and was very upset the following day because he might not be allowed back into his flat.
“The kids can’t wash before they go to school. My furniture was destroyed in flooding six weeks ago – and my kitchen – and Lambeth have done nothing about that either.
“We are being left in the lurch. There’s young people with babies and old people. They need to get their act together.
“Some people have not been able to go to work. I am just angry with the council for not putting people in hotels because it is a health hazard.”
A spokesman for Lambeth council said: “Lambeth council staff have been on site throughout, offering advice and emergency power at a nearby rest centre. “Hot meals have been provided, along with breakfasts and bottled water.
The water pumps had power redistributed so were back working by Wednesday and we are working with specialist contractors to reinstate the power by later on Thursday.”