Members of UK International Search and Rescue (UK ISAR), including seven West Midlands Fire Service (WMFS) staff, have arrived in Morocco to support rescue efforts following a devastating earthquake.
It’s feared that the current death toll of 2,000-plus people could rise still further, as the country braces for aftershocks from the 6.8 magnitude quake which hit on 8 September.
The seven WMFS staff, who volunteer as members of UK ISAR, are among some 60 fire and rescue service personnel deployed. Their flight landed in Morocco in the early hours of Monday (11 Sept).
UK ISAR offered support and started to plan their mission immediately after the earthquake. They were deployed once the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office’s offer of help was accepted by Morocco on Sunday.
Wayne Brown, WMFS’s Chief Fire Officer, said: “Our thoughts are with all in Morocco affected by this devastating earthquake, as well as with the responders who are dedicated to rescuing survivors.
“As always, we are extremely grateful to and proud of our UK ISAR members for answering the call, and for their families’ support. The team’s health and wellbeing is paramount, and we will give them all possible support during this deployment.”
Deputy Chief Fire Officer Jo Bowcock met with the team before they flew out to Morocco, to wish them well on behalf of the service.
Here in the UK, WMFS is hosting and staffing the 24/7 UK ISAR Incident Room for the deployment, which will provide a vital link between the team in Morocco, their families and fire and rescue services.
In February this year, WMFS staff were among those deployed to Turkey following an earthquake.
Just four weeks later, some of our UK ISAR volunteers deployed to Malawi in Southern Africa, which had been hit by devastating floods.