Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue’s Chief Fire Officer Dave Ramscar has returned to Lincoln after completing his 4,000 mile trip to Nepal – providing aid to the thousands whose lives were devastated by the earthquake on April 25.
A team of 67 firefighters, plus four search and rescue dogs, arrived in the capital city Kathmandu days after the 7.9 Richter scale quake had struck.
The group remained in the country for ten days, with half of the team, led by Dave, heading north-east to the Chautara region to assist in the humanitarian effort.
The remaining firefighters spent the time ensuring that a hospital in Kathmandu was able to treat those injured, after a slab of overhanging bricks precariously balanced had left the facility unable to operate at anywhere near full capacity.
By the time the team left Nepal, over 400 beds had been re-opened in the college hospital.
The fire chief, who was the only Lincolnshire firefighter on the mission, said: “In Kathmandu, as a team, we completed a street by street, building by building search to help the local people find missing survivors or to remove fatalities.
“Some of the buildings had been totally destroyed and flattened while others had escaped unaffected.”
Part way through his trip, Dave was re-tasked to the Chautara area, which had especially suffered from the quake, to conduct a search assessment.
He said: “It was almost total devastation in these areas and we had to be dropped in by helicopter because the roads had been destroyed.
“What struck the team was the resilience of the local people affected out in some of the villages, where up to 30 and 40 people had been killed in each settlement.
“When we arrived, we were given rose petals, water and food by the local people, who welcomed us to their villages.
“It was dramatic to see the resilience and robustness of them in the aftermath of such a tragedy and how they were just trying to get on with their lives.”
Dave, who has worked in the fire service for 31 years, added: “Although we didn’t rescue anyone alive from the rubble during the 10-day mission, we did make a major contribution to the rescue effort.
“It was on a much broader scale because helping to restore the hospital’s services will definitely save far more lives than finding a few alive in the destroyed buildings.
“The support from people of Lincoln and across the country has been fantastic. But there is a major need for assistance out in Nepal, which will only continue to grow.”
Members of Lindum Rotary Club have joined in the fundraising appeal, and will be at Pennells Garden Centre on Wednesday May 13 collecting for ShelterBox which is providing tents and survival equipment to victims.
The charity has already delivered 39 tonnes of aid to remote villages in the earthquake-shattered country.
Lincoln charity Lincs2Nepal have also been helping with the aid mission. Two hard working fundraisers even went out to help, accepting donations and updating people on their mission via their Facebook page.