Earthquake Europe Middle East Turkey World News

Hampshire and Isle of Wight fire service return from earthquake response

A group of firefighters have returned to the UK from Turkey where they helped with search and rescue efforts following a devastating earthquake.

More than 44,000 people in southern Turkey and northern Syria are confirmed to have lost their lives after a 7.8-magnitude quake on 6 February.

Nine firefighters from Hampshire were part of a UK team of specialists who searched “hundreds of buildings”.

Hampshire fire service said it was “like nothing any of us has ever seen”.

The firefighters from Hampshire and Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Service (HIWFRS) were part of the UK International Search and Rescue (UKISAR) team based in Hatay, Turkey.

HIWFRS said: “One intricate and complex rescue took more than 20 hours to complete, as the HIWFRS team worked alongside their colleagues to rescue two people from the collapsed ruins of a hotel.”

The service described “gruelling conditions” as members of the team helped to locate and rescue a number of survivors.

Robin Bates, HIWFRS team leader, said: “Being out there was like nothing any of us has ever seen before and our hearts go out to the people who have been affected.

“People out there have lost everything, some of them have nothing, but they were still trying to give us food, drinks, and everything they could.”

He said the deployment demonstrated the importance of “highly skilled firefighters” who can respond to a large disaster “at a moment’s notice”.

Source : BBC