Lincolnshire fire chief leads earthquake rescue mission in Nepal

A team of 67 UK firefighters made the 4,000 mile aid trip across the world after a massive earthquake devastated lives in Nepal – and leading them was Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue’s Chief Fire Officer Dave Ramscar.

On day four of the huge rescue and relief effort, as the death toll rise above 6,000, the UK team are preparing to relocate to more remote areas outside of Kathmandu.

Latest reports indicate that over 6,100 deaths have been confirmed, with over 13,000 injured as a result of the quake on April 25.

Thousands of villages in the country are unrecognisable, with many clinics, hospitals and schools in some districts unusable

There have been a number of aftershocks since, including one at 6.7 magnitude, which made conditions challenging for the rescue teams.

The UKISAR team in Nepal

The UKISAR team in Nepal

Dave Ramscar spoke to The Lincolnite from a base in Kathmandu, as the team prepares to relocate to the suburb of Chandol.

He said: “We have actually been given permission by the British embassy in Kathmandu to pitch our tents on the lawn at the front of the building so that’s where we are staying for now.

“I’ve been in the country since Tuesday morning. When the team arrived we were allocated search and rescue missions in the capital and we have been operating under the umbrella of the United Nations.

Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue Chief Fire Officer Dave Ramscar

Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue Chief Fire Officer Dave Ramscar

“We, as a team, have been covering street by street, building by building, working with local people to locate potential survivors.

“We came with four search dogs and 14 tonnes of kit such as chisels, drills and heavy rescue equipment.

“It’s been quite startling the differences from one building to the next. Some had been completely flattened in the quake and others nearby have escaped without a crack.

“We have not found anyone trapped under the rubble, however we are aware that the teams from across the globe are still finding survivors.

“We’ve now finished our work in Kathmandu and we are moving to an area 80km north, in a more rural spot which is going to be a real challenge to get to.

“Since we have been in the country there have been a number of aftershocks, most however we have not felt so it’s not impacted the mission too much.

“Over the last few days, we have visited major hospitals in the region. A lot of the buildings are structurally unsound, with many services being set up in car parks. People are also worried about further earthquakes.

“We will be here for a maximum of 14 days, enough to be self-sufficient in terms of fuel and supplies, we don’t want to be a burden on the community. Sadly, after 14 days we would be very unlikely to find any survivors.”

The team have now finished their work in Kathmandu and are beginning they search and rescue work in more rural suburbs.

The team have now finished their work in Kathmandu and are beginning they search and rescue work in more rural suburbs.

The UK International Search and Rescue team, which Dave has been a part of for four years, have confirmed they will support body recovery operations.

The team of volunteers, drawn from UK fire and rescue services and health trusts, has been deployed by the Department for International Development (DfID).

A spokesperson for UKISAR said: “Several UKISAR members have training in, and experience of, disaster and humanitarian medicine.

“Their health infrastructure and medical assessment will involve gathering and feeding back medical intelligence to the international health organisations on the ground, to help them best prioritise their work and efforts.”

One charity from Lincoln is also playing a vital role in the aid mission. Lincs2Nepal flew into the country on April 28, armed with the incoming donations of UK fundraisers. The group are still collection donations through their JustGiving page.