A powerful 7.8 magnitude earthquake, reportedly the worst in Nepal in the past 81 years, struck April 25. It toppled buildings in the capital of Kathmandu and in Nepal’s second-largest city of Pokhara, and in many outlying villages.
Six Cheshire firefighters, who all volunteer to be part of the UK International Search and Rescue Team (UKISAR), went out to Nepal to help in the aftermath of a devastating earthquake that has killed more than 8,000 people.
The six from Cheshire were:
• Mark Coleman, based at the Service’s Headquarters in Winsford
• Alexander Hayes, based at Crewe Fire Station
• Stuart Devereux, based at the Service’s Winsford, Headquarters
• John Turner, based at Chester Fire Station
• Daz Tennant, based at Chester Fire Station.
• Plus, Steve Buckley, an on-call firefighter at Knutsford Fire Station,
and the search and rescue dog, Bryn
During the 10-day mission the team worked around the clock to give assistance and medical aid to the people and communities that had been affected by the disaster.
Cheshire’s ISAR team leader, Mark Coleman, explained how landslides had caused many of the villages to become cut off and could only be accessed by helicopter. He added that part of his team’s mission was to help some of the villages who had not been reached since before the earthquake hit.
He said: “I led a team to Golchi which, is a town of 2000 people with about 200 houses – that had all been damaged in the earthquake. When I arrived I met the elders of the community to explain who we were and that we would be carrying out an assessment to ascertain their needs. Sadly, the community had lost seven people in the disaster and another six were critically injured.
“We were able to help them by reinstating their water supply and giving medical aid to those who had suffered injuries such as fractures during the disaster. One woman had suffered a really traumatic injury that had left her unable to move for eight days – it was so rewarding to be able to help treat her and give her some comfort.
“I have to say that the people we met were wonderful, even after suffering such terrible loss they still showed amazing community spirt and were already beginning to rebuild their homes and help each other.”
Bryn, the search and rescue dog, was used to check for signs of anyone trapped in within buildings. The dog can detect life even if it is coming from beneath rubble.
For more information and bout the team and their past missions, including videos please visit www.cheshirefire.gov.uk