SPECIALLY trained firefighters from across West Sussex have been helping with the UK’s international search and rescue effort in the earthquake-hit country of Nepal.
The UK International Search and Rescue (UKISAR) team includes six firefighters from the county’s fire service who are primarily responsible for the logistics operation in the ravaged country.
They have helped establish the UK team’s base of operations in the grounds of the British Embassy in the Nepalese capital of Kathmandu.
The six from the fire service’s technical rescue unit deployed oversea include, Joe Sacco, of Worthing, Antony Walker and Neil Graham, both of Shoreham, Adrian Kirkpatrick, of Crawley, Matt Simmons, of Wittering and Owen Marfany, of Horsham.
The UK team spent much of yesterday (Wednesday, April 29) assessing the local infrastructure in the Chautara area of central Nepal and searching for missing people.
However, with hopes fading of finding further survivors the team has now been asked to turn their efforts to body recovery.
Today the team is helping at the scene of a collapsed six-storey building in Kathmandu.
A spokesman for UKISAR said: “People’s chances of still being alive in the collapsed building are, tragically, virtually nil. We have confirmed that we will support body recovery operations.
“In addition, members of the team will be carrying out health infrastructure assessments in the Halambra and Lantang districts.
“Their team’s skills spread to far more than search and rescue. Several UKISAR members have training in, and experience of, disaster and humanitarian medicine.
“Their health infrastructure and medical assessment will involve gathering and feeding back medical intelligence to the international health organisations on the ground, to help them best prioritise their work and efforts.”
The update comes after a Sussex woman, who was one of the survivors of the quake, spoke about her ordeal earlier today.
The team of volunteers, drawn from UK fire and rescue services and health trusts, has been deployed by the Department for International Development (DfID).
West Sussex’s technical rescue service is consists of 12 specially trained firefighters who are based at Horley Fire Station, near Crawley.