UK ISAR deploy to Southern Africa

Storm Freddy prompts Malawian request for help

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Published on 19 March 2023

West Midlands Fire Service answers call for help after cyclone hits Southern Africa

Members of West Midlands Fire Service (WMFS) have deployed to Malawi as part of the United Kingdom International Search and Rescue (UK ISAR) team response to devastating storms that have swept the country.

The request for UK assistance from the Malawian government came after it declared a state of disaster in 10 southern districts, as Storm Freddy hit for a second time this month.

WMFS is among other UK fire and rescue services (FRSs) to have answered the call for international help. Those deployed are volunteer members of UK ISAR and are joined by dedicated medical teams who volunteer from UK organisations outside of the fire and rescue service.

WMFS is among other UK fire and rescue services to have answered the call for international help, by sending a 27-person flood response. It comes just a month after 77 members arrived back in the UK from earthquake-hit Türkiye.

Wayne Brown, Chief Fire Officer of West Midlands Fire Service, said: “Our thoughts are with everyone affected by the devastating cyclones that have swept across several countries.

A group of UK fire and rescue staff who volunteer as member of UK International Search and Rescue

“Just four weeks after our volunteers were part of the international response to the earthquakes in Türkiye, they are once again preparing to help another nation in dire need.

“UK ISAR volunteers from the West Midlands will provide a Search and Rescue Flood Response. As always, we are extremely grateful to them for answering the call and they will receive all necessary support during their deployment.

“We will also be keenly focused on their health and wellbeing upon their return, having been involved in two deployments so close together.”

UK ISAR has previously deployed to countries devastated by hurricanes and floods, as well as to nations hit by wildfires and earthquakes.