The International Search and Rescue Team from South Wales Fire and Rescue Service, have returned from Christchurch, New Zealand along with their counterparts from other UK fire and rescue services. The team formed part of the UK Government's Department for International Development (DFID) assistance to New Zealand following the devastating earthquake that struck Christchurch in February. The team of eight personnel were part of a 62 strong team of search and rescue personnel from across the UK including West Midlands, Cheshire, Essex, West Sussex, Hampshire, Grampian, Lincolnshire, Leicestershire and South Wales Fire and Rescue Service.   

The UK International Search and Rescue team arrived in New Zealand at 1000 (local time) on February 25, and were tasked and briefed on rescue operations and then immediately committed to search and rescue operations. 

The team were classified as Heavy Rescue response under UN guidelines and assisted the existing resources already deployed and helped continue the vital search and rescue of those trapped under collapsed buildings and rubble caused by the earthquake. 

Anthony Ernest, Chairman, South Wales Fire and Rescue Authority, said: "We are extremely pleased and proud that our International Search and Rescue Team could help the communities in New Zealand affected by this tragedy and are delighted that the team have all returned back safely to South Wales". 


Posted: 09.49am, 14.03.11