UKISAR deployment in response to earthquakes in Türkiye and Syria

Eight West Midlands Fire Service (WMFS) personnel are en route to Türkiye, as part of the UK’s response to devastating earthquakes that have struck the south of the country and northern Syria.

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Published on 7 February 2023

We're among 14 UK fire and rescue services to have answered the call for international help

Eight West Midlands Fire Service (WMFS) personnel are en route to Türkiye, as part of the UK’s response to devastating earthquakes that have struck the south of the country and northern Syria.

Thousands of people have been killed or injured, and hundreds of buildings destroyed.

WMFS is among 14 UK fire and rescue services (FRSs) to have answered the call for international help.

Those deployed are volunteer members of UK International Search and Rescue (UKISAR). They include search dogs and handlers, and have been joined by dedicated medical teams who volunteer from UK organisations outside of the fire and rescue service.

This deployment – sanctioned by the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) – is the latest example of UKISAR volunteers selflessly answering an international appeal for help.

Wayne Brown, Chief Fire Officer of West Midlands Fire Service, said: “The news and imagery from Türkiye and Syria are truly devastating. Our thoughts are with everyone who is grieving, or otherwise affected by the earthquakes.

“We are proud to be among the UK fire and rescue services who have sent teams as part of the international response.

“The West Midlands UKISAR volunteers will provide a command support function. We are extremely grateful to them, and will be giving them all possible support during their deployment.”

UKISAR personnel working in rubble next to excavator

 

UKISAR has previously deployed to earthquake zones – including Türkiye in 1999 – as well as to countries hit by hurricanes, floods and wildfires.

Last year, UKISAR and WMFS personnel were among those to join convoys taking much-needed firefighting vehicles and equipment to war-torn Ukraine.

Anyone in Türkiye and in need of urgent help should call +90 312 455 3344. Anyone in the UK concerned about relatives or friends should call the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) in London on 020 7008 5000.