We recently welcomed back our Emeritus Medical Director, Dr Malcolm Russell MBE, who in his role as Medical Director of UK International Search and Rescue Team (UK-ISAR) has been in Turkey working round the clock to locate and rescue survivors of the devastating earthquake.
Malcolm was part of an emergency response team deployed by the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office to help the rescue effort. The team of 77 fire and rescue personnel, supported by a small team of professional medics – plus four search dogs – arrived in Gaziantep, Turkey on 7th February, the day after the major earthquake hit this region.
Bringing advanced specialist skills and equipment to assist local teams, UK-ISAR worked non-stop to find survivors, cutting through huge heaps of rubble and delivering emergency treatment in extraordinary conditions to save lives. As a Helicopter Emergency Medical Services (HEMS) Doctor, Malcolm is highly experienced in giving life-saving treatment to patients in out-of-hospital settings – but the destruction caused by this enormous earthquake made conditions extreme. Interviewed on BBC Breakfast this week, Malcolm spoke about the challenges faced and how, from his previous experience as part of the UK emergency response teams following earthquakes in New Zealand in 2011 and Nepal in 2015, the damage resulting from this earthquake is vast.
“These catastrophic incidents require a huge team effort, and I am honoured to be part of UK-ISAR. It is a privilege to be able to help at a time of desperate need and our thoughts continue to be with the people of Turkey and Syria.”
David Welch, our CEO, said:
“I am immensely proud of Malcolm and of the extraordinary efforts made by UK-ISAR and all those involved in rescuing so many people. I’ve seen first-hand the devastation natural disasters cause and my heart goes out to everyone affected by events in Turkey and Syria.”
“Our world-leading medical crews at KSS respond so effectively to critical incidents in our region, some of whom also play a part in responding to major disasters overseas. Thank you, Malcolm, for your tireless commitment to our charity and for your incredible work overseas.”