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GMFRS crews rescue dozens from flood-stricken Bosnia and Herzegovina

A TEAM of firefighters from Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service (GMFRS) are continuing to help people in flood-stricken Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The team of six travelled to the country on Saturday, May 17, as part of a UK ISAR (International Search and Rescue) team response to wide-spread flooding in the Balkan region.

Today (Wednesday, May 21) the team has been sent to an area that's not yet received any support and where further people are thought to be stranded.

After landing in Sarajevo Airport at the weekend they set up their base of operations at a community centre on Sunday.

The have since been involved with rescue operations and the GMFRS crew alone has led more than 50 people to safety and rescued more than 30 people using the water rescue boat.

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They also retrieved essential medication for people and assisted others who were injured - including an elderly woman who was suffering from a broken arm and suspected internal bleeding.

Station Manager Phil Nelson, who is in Bosnia, said: "We literally had to carry the woman from where she was to a boat and through the water to get her to hospital - the whole community was really pleased that she was looked after so well.

"Some people are quite happy to remain in their property once they've got water which teams have been taking out to local people along with limited food supplies.

"Yesterday (Tuesday, May 20) we spent the majority of the day trying to restore power to one of the main areas of flooding.

"It was like a sea - it's unbelievable to see the amount of water affecting the area and the power station affected was right in the middle of the water.

"Crews went out in the boats with electrical engineers about 5km across the water to reach the substation and we reconnected alternative power lines.

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"We're working in very difficult conditions - in temperatures above 30 degrees and no shade for eight hours in a boat - but we were successful in restoring the power and the local people are overjoyed.

"It's keeping people's spirits high seeing the gratefulness of the local people and literally as we were arriving people were cheering and waving - it was amazing."

It's not the first time GMFRS firefighters have responded to severe flooding in recent times.

In February this year, around 30 fire officers and five fire engines from Greater Manchester went to Berkshire to support flood relief efforts in the South East.

Hear more from Station Manager Phil Nelson, speaking from Bosnia, here:

Last update: 23/03/2016 08:19:28
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