Northumberland man helping search and rescue effort following Morocco earthquake

A man who works for the Northumberland National Park Mountain Rescue Team has deployed to Morocco with 62 other international search and rescue firefighters in response to a deadly earthquake that took place on Friday 8 September.

Jamie Pattison's substantive role is to provide NHS level medical support to the firefighters as they carry out search and rescue missions in remote villages high up in the Atlas Mountains.

The 6.8 magnitude quake has killed almost 3,000 people, injured and displaced thousands more. Mr Pattison told ITV News the the destruction he has seen is "indescribable".

He said: "Up in those remote villages, some of the quality of the buildings isn’t the best. There’s been a lot of landslides as well, especially in these dry, arid mountains. Some of the mountains have literally just collapsed.

"The scale of the destruction is indescribable and our hearts go out to all of the people affected by this."

Donkey rescued in remote Moroccan village Credit: Jamie Pattison/UKISAR

Working with a 62 strong team of search and rescue specialists, plus four search dogs and their handlers and five medics, Mr Pattison said at times their own lives have been put in danger as they carry out operations.

He said: "We were up at a site a couple of days ago, working where there was an aftershock while we were working and obviously that’s quite scary for everybody.

"Fortunately we’ve had no injuries ourselves. I ended up, incidentally, offering first aid and treating a few people who were injured in that evacuation."

Over the weekend, the team had to rescue a donkey, that people depend on in a remote mountain village, that had been trapped in the rubble.

He said: "I think they (ISAR) knocked on a wall or two and made a safe extraction path to get this animal out of where it was. The vets looked it over and it’s a really valuable resource for people who have lost everything. Having that donkey that’s going to be there for a long, long time, bringing water to the village, probably bringing aid and food."

ISAR give medical attention to Moroccans Credit: Jamie Pattison/UKISAR

Jamie Pattison's 12 year experience working for Northumberland's mountain rescue team has prepared him for the challenges he has faced in Morocco.

He added: "My work with the mountain rescue team has been invaluable to this. I’ve learnt to survive in remote conditions. I’ve learnt to render aid in remote conditions. I’m quite used to not having an ambulance 10 metres from where I am and being able to deal with the situation."

Paying tribute to the Moroccan locals, who left the rescue teams messages of thanks written in several languages, he said: "They’re always really grateful to see us. We’ve been really inspired by how they’ve welcomed us and thanking us and waving at us and they’re just really pleased and really thankful for the solidarity they’ve received from the international community."

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