Firefighters join rescue effort

Seven Hampshire-based Fire Fighters have arrived in Iran, following a devastating earthquake.

The Hampshire Fire and Rescue fire crew form part of the international rescue effort which will be searching for survivors.

It is estimated the earthquake near Bam has killed between 10,000 and 25,000 and injured another 30,000 people

The fire crew flew out from Stansted Airport, along with similar teams from Essex and Kent, on board a government-funded aircraft on Boxing Day.

The earthquake struck before dawn on Friday, 630 miles south-east of the capital Tehran.

Members of the British-based International Rescue Corps (IRC), along with volunteers, doctors, paramedics, government officials and dogs from British International Rescue Dogs (Bird) were also with them.

Unpaid volunteers

Sixty emergency workers and sniffer dogs are now making their way to the devastated ancient city of Bam after landing in Kerman, 125 miles from the epicenter of the quake on Saturday morning.

Mike Gates, spokesman for Hampshire Fire and Rescue said: “They are all regular firefighters who, in addition to their normal duties, have volunteered to take on extra training and learn how to use other equipment so they will be able to respond to just such an emergency as this one.”

Recovery experts from Rapid-UK are expected to scour rubble from two hospitals and apartment blocks flattened in the disaster.

The crews will use snake-eye cameras, high-tech listening devices and carbon dioxide detectors to search for people in voids left under collapsed buildings.

Bam and the surrounding areas are home to more than 200,000 people. About 70% of the houses in Bam have been destroyed, according to Iranian state television.

It is thought many people were crushed as they slept.

The British Red Cross (BRC) has launched an appeal to raise money for tents, tarpaulins, water containers, kitchen sets and water purification tablets.

Other countries which have pledged aid or dispatched rescue teams to the area include Turkey, Germany, Switzerland, Italy, France and Russia.