Essex fire and rescue team reports back from Indonesian earthquake zone
Essex crews working round the clock in the wet and humid aftermath of the Indonesian earthquake, have spoken today (Monday) about the devastation they have witnessed. A seven-strong team of Essex fire and rescue experts, along with Darcy the rescue dog, f
Essex crews working round the clock in the wet and humid aftermath of the Indonesian earthquake, have spoken today (Monday) about the devastation they have witnessed.
A seven-strong team of Essex fire and rescue experts, along with Darcy the rescue dog, flew out from RAF Brize Norton in the early hours of Saturday morning and immediately set to work.
Station officer, Terry Webb, said: "The earthquakes have caused widespread destruction. In the cities the damage is very sporadic - some buildings appear untouched while others have been completely flattened. But in the outlying areas around the cities there has been complete devastation.
"We went to an area where a mudslide had completely covered three villages and buried around 600 people. We put the dog on the area and did a ground search but no one had survived the mud slide, they didn't stand a chance.
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"As soon as we got here, we were attached to the Australian rescue team and basically we hit the ground running. There was so much that needed to be done that the entire team, we got started straight away. It's been tough - it is hot and humid with extremely heavy rains as the monsoon season begins.
"Hopes of finding anyone buried and alive now quite remote - so now the humanitarian phase of the international effort is beginning.
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"We will assist with this work, distributing clean water and food, blankets and the like.
"Seeing how the locals have reacted has been a very humbling. Despite the death and destruction of their families and homes and the suffering, they have show real inner strength and resilience through it all."
The team travelled with colleagues from other fire and rescue services as part of a 65-strong contingent.
The team is one of 20 set up nationwide aimed at providing the UK fire and rescue service with the capability to respond to a variety of different incidents including chemical, biological and nuclear events, search and rescue scenarios and major flooding.
The team is based in a purpose built base in Lexden, Colchester, but come from all over Essex.