FOUR firefighters from mid and west Wales have travelled out to Morocco to support the response efforts following last week’s earthquake.

The UK-ISAR (UK International Search and Rescue Team) has been deployed to Morocco through the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) in response to the tragic earthquake on Friday, September 8, which has killed more than 2,000 people.

Among the 62 sent to help and support rescue efforts are two Welsh teams, which include four Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service staff and two from South Wales Fire and Rescue Service. The MAWWFRS team are head of southern division Steve Davies, Kevin Morgan who is a watch manager based at Earlswood Training Facility, watch manager Stephen Fuge of Gorseinon Station and firefighter Derek Lewis from Neath Station, whilst firefighters Alex Bland from Malpas Station and Rob Buckley from Ely Station have been deployed from SWFRS.

Steve Davies said: “We’ve encountered very challenging conditions, as well as having to travel long distances. After meeting with the local team, we’re travelling two to three hours away to a remote village, pushing through any blockages on the way to see if we can enable rescues.

“We will continue with our search and rescue work until the local authorities deem the rescue phase to be over. At the moment, our priority is trying to find saveable life.”

James Cleverly, foreign secretary, said: “The UK Government has sent immediate support to Morocco including a team of 62 search and rescue specialists and four rescue dogs to assist with the rescue effort.

“I remain in contact with foreign minister Bourita and offer my deepest sympathies to the people of Morocco after this tragic event.”

Mark Hardingham, chairman of the National Fire Chiefs Council, said: “The thoughts of the UK’s fire and rescue services are with all those affected by the devastating earthquake in Morocco.

“A team of specially trained firefighters and medics from the UK has been deployed to assist following a request from the Moroccan government to the British government.

“They will be providing specialist technical support where it is needed most to save lives and support local emergency service teams.”

The UK-ISAR is part of the National Fire Chiefs Council’s National Resilience Work and teams are on standby to mobilise and assist when requested by countries affected by disasters.

It is the second time that Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service has sent firefighters to a disaster zone in 2023, and the third time that South Wales Fire and Rescue Service has deployed its staff.

In February, Haverfordwest Station watch manager Phil Irving and head of southern division Steve Davies from MAWWFRS and firefighters Luke Davison of Malpas Station, Robert Buckley of Ely Station and crew manager Emma Atcherley of Cardiff Central Station were part of the 77-strong team sent to help in Turkey, whilst in March, a 27-strong team was deployed to Malawi to support the rescue efforts following cyclone Freddy, which included two SWFRS members in station commander Darren Cleaves and crew manager Tristan Bowen.

The UK-ISAR teams are self-sufficient upon arrival in disaster-hit countries, providing their own food, water, shelter, sanitation, communications and all necessary equipment needed for up to 14 days of search and rescue operations to ensure no additional burden is placed on a country already suffering demands on resources.