Dereham rescuer heads off to Greece to help migrant crisis

Duncan Barrow, watch manager of Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) in Dereham who is going to help suppo

Duncan Barrow, watch manager of Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) in Dereham who is going to help support the refugee crisis in the Aegean Islands.PHOTO BY SIMON FINLAY - Credit: SIMON FINLAY

A search and rescue manager from Norfolk is flying to Greece tomorrow to help save lives as the refugee crisis escalates.

Duncan Barrow, 49, said he was inspired to offer the skills he has gained during a 25-year career with Norfolk Fire and Rescue Service after watching harrowing television footage of the crisis unfolding.

He is going to the Greek island of Kos, in the Aegean Sea. He will travel alone and work voluntarily for a month.

Mr Barrow, who lives in Church Street, Dereham, said: 'I've wanted to volunteer for some time and when I saw the news reports of the migrant crisis I felt I had to do something.

'One particular report showed footage of children falling out of an overturning boat.

'Working in search and rescue, it was hard to sit there and do nothing.'

Mr Barrow, who is a watch manager for a Norfolk Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) team, based at Dereham Fire Station, will perform the role of a rescue swimmer.

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With USAR, which was set up in 2006, he is trained to worked in a wide range of scenarios including plane crashes, floods, collapsed buildings and car crashes.

Last year more than 850,000 migrants – mostly refugees fleeing war and abuses in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan – entered Greece as a gateway to the EU. Kos is one of the many Greek islands to have borne the brunt of the crisis.

Mr Barrow said: 'It will really test my skills and I will learn so much.

'I will need to be prepared for some very demanding situations, on a much larger scale to anything I have done before. In Norfolk, I would go to a road accident to help maybe three people. Out there I will be dealing with 50 people crammed into a rubber dinghy. I am doing my small bit to help.'

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