Within just 53 hours of the earthquake the SERVE ON search and rescue team were the first British team with boots on the ground in Kathmandu. Currently they are working to build capacity with local groups and have decided that when they depart they will be leaving valuable search and rescue equipment behind.
Pete Old, Trustee of SERVE ON and Head of Operations says, “We know that when we do leave the equipment will be in good hands. We have been working with other organisations and alongside local people to deliver capacity building training in the hope that in another incident the people who have suffered so much will be better equipped to cope in the future. This is an important part of what we do at SERVE ON and later this year we already have similar training planned for delivery in Bangladesh. It’s vital that we try and build capabilities anywhere we work so that people can help themselves.”
The team have spent five days searching for survivors in rural areas of Nepal and in Kathmandu Valley. They were part of a combined group of international rescuers and provided first contact for affected villagers with the outside world. The voluntary team, comprised of three fire service personnel, one paramedic, one emergency planner, consultants and telecoms engineers (including four ex-service personnel) have been surveying the devastation with advanced search and rescue equipment for five days, looking for signs of life. With over 20 years experience they were deployed at a moment’s notice – something that they are always prepared for.
Joanna Lumley, Ambassador for SERVE ON, says “I am so pleased and proud that SERVE ON International Response Team acted so fast. With precious skills and equipment needed in the search and rescue effort in Nepal you truly make the difference between life and death for those trapped. Be the outstretched hand that reaches for them in the darkness and donate now, please.”