Essex Firefighters return from Turkey

The rescue missions have not stopped in Turkey, after the country has been hit alongside Syria by an earthquake. Picture by EU Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid (

By Natalie Hensel 

Three Essex firefighters have returned from Turkey after supporting the International Search and Rescue team. 

Lexden based crew manager Bryn Jones and watch manager Steve Smith went alongside Scott Meekings, group manager at Essex Fire Service’s headquarters, and 77 other firefighters, fire and rescue staff members. 

The trio from Essex returned on Monday, 13th February and struggled to put into words what they had seen abroad. 

“The destruction is on a level we couldn’t have ever imagined.”, they said. 

The independent group was deployed by the Foreign Office and was equipped with food, water, communications and sanitation for a maximum stay of two weeks. 

With more and more time passing, the probability of finding survivors is shrinking drastically, despite the miraculous rescue of a seven-month-old after almost a week and two more people after 11 days. 

The Turkish community in Essex has come together to help from abroad to their best potential.  

Businessmen from Ipswich, Clacton, Harwich and Colchester have collected £10,000 as well as blankets and clothing to be sent to those in need. 

An earthquake of a 7.8 magnitude shocked southern and central Turkey, as well as northern and western Syria, two weeks ago.  

According to Al-Jazeera, the death toll is nearing 44,000, Turkey has confirmed over 38,000 deaths and Syria almost 6,000. 

Due to the triple junction between the Anatolian, Arabian and African plates, the area is prone to earthquakes. 

Critiques in Turkey are blaming the government for not enforcing the updated building rules for earthquake protection more forcefully and saying the number of victims should not have been that high. 

A map showing the severity of the earthquake from the 6th February 2023. Picture found here (