Morocco earthquake: Welsh firefighter say houses reduced to 'particles'

Head of Southern Division Steve Davies spoke with ITV Wales from the UK ISAR camp in Morocco.

A Welsh firefighter who has been deployed to Morocco has told ITV Wales about the moment an elderly woman was pulled from the rubble five days after a devastating earthquake. 

The north African country was hit by the disaster on Friday (September 8) and the rescue window is rapidly closing as focus turns to the humanitarian crisis.

More than 2,000 people are confirmed to have died and tens of thousands were made homeless by the disaster, with many still struggling to access shelter and clean water days on.

Six firefighters from two international search and rescue (ISAR) teams in Wales are among the 62 British contingent that are on the ground in Morocco.

They are currently helping and supporting with the rescue after being deployed to Morocco through the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office.

Six Welsh firefighters are among dozens of rescuers who have been deployed from the UK to help teams in Morocco.

Speaking with ITV Wales from the UK ISAR camp in Morocco the Head of Southern Division, Steve Davies, said: "We have managed to rescue an elderly lady (on Wednesday), I think she was 67.

"She had a very badly smashed ankle so she couldn't self-rescue. Our guys managed to access her, rescue her and pull her out of the building.

"We've also been able to provide medical care to people we've encountered while out in the mountains."

This is the second time this year Steve Davies has been deployed to the aftermath of an earthquake in the last eight months, having helped with the rescue efforts in Turkey in February.

Firefighters walking along a pile of rubble formed of tree branches and concrete bricks in Morocco. Credit: KFRS/PA

The operation in Morocco has been less successful than hoped because of the structure of the buildings there.

Mr Davies, 51 from Swansea, said: "What we're finding is that the building infrastructure is very much around clay, stone and timber.

"A lot of the buildings are being reduced to very small particles. There's a lot less survivable voids that we found than we found in Turkey.

"So our success hasn't been what we would have liked".

Firefighters in Wales have been deployed twice previously this year, helping rescue efforts following the earthquake in Turkey and the aftermath of Cyclone Freddy in Malawi.

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