Merseyside firefighters sent to Turkey earthquake disaster zone as death toll reaches over 9,000

The Merseyside crew are part of a 77-strong international team who will assist with rescue efforts.

A specialist team from Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service (MFRS) are being deployed to Turkey following the devastating earthquakes that hit the region on Monday.

The disaster death toll in the country and neighbouring Syria has reached over 9,000. Foreign Secretary James Cleverly told the House of Commons on Tuesday that three British nationals have been confirmed missing.

Five members of MFRS’s search and rescue team and their special search and rescue dog will join a 77-strong International Search and Rescue (UKISAR) outfit heading to the earthquake zone.

The team has been deployed through the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, following a request from the Turkish government. They will assist rescue outfits already on the ground over the next two weeks.

MFRS Chief Fire Officer Phil Garrigan said: “The situation in Turkey and Syria is devastating to see, with the number of those killed and seriously injured sadly continuing to rise.

“We have the skills, the expertise and the equipment to make a real difference and I am incredibly proud that we and other Fire & Rescue Services across the country are able to step up and offer this vital support - it will be invaluable in helping the emergency services teams already working tirelessly in the disaster-stricken area.

“Helping people in their time of need is what we do in the fire & rescue service and that desire to help goes far wider than our borders here in Merseyside.

“The team of 77 firefighters and staff will be able to use a range of technical expertise, kit and equipment in areas where it is needed most, over the next 14 days, in a bid to save lives.”

More than 6,000 buildings have collapsed and the electricity and gas infrastructure of both Syria and Turkey have been severely damaged. It is understood many of the 3.5 million Syrian refugees hosted by Turkey reside in the provinces that have been gravely impacted by the earthquake.

High ranking officials, such as Turkey’s Vice President Fuat Oktay, have revealed that the confirmed death count in both countries now stands at around 9,000. The Turkish disaster management agency confirmed that it has received over 11,000 reports of collapsed buildings of which 5,775 have been confirmed.

Turkey and Syria earthquakes: what we know so far

  • The first earthquake hit while the population slept and measured 7.8 magnitude
  • 5,021 deaths confirmed with at least 3,381 in Turkey alone
  • More than 7,800 have been rescued from 10 provinces, many more missing in the rubble across both countries
  • Experts have predicted that the death toll could rise to over 20,000
  • More than 10 search and rescue teams from the EU have been mobilised, US/UK/China/Israel/Russia/Canada all offered their assistance
  • Turkey’s main nuclear power plant, Akkuyu, remains unaffected by the quake