AN emergency team from Oxfordshire is expected to return to England today after spending a week helping the international rescue operation in Haiti.

Members of the charity Emergency Response Team – Search and Rescue landed in the capital Port-au-Prince last Tuesday to help some of the hundreds of thousands of people whose lives have been devastated by the earthquake.

They helped hundreds of people receive medical treatment and delivered rations across the city.

ERT Search and Rescue, formerly known as Oxfordshire Search and Rescue, is based in Henley and was founded by Mr Foo in 2002.

Volunteers, including some with medical backgrounds, receive extensive training before they join trips to disaster zones. The group’s motto is ‘That Others May Live’.

Experts currently estimate the death toll following the earthquake on Tuesday, January 12, is 150,000, but warn it could rise. Up to a million people have been left homeless.

Speaking before the crew flew home, team leader Gary Foo said: “We have stayed in Port-au-Prince on an airfield by the UN base. There is no access to water, toilets, electricity or the Internet. The team is well and in good spirits. Many lives have been saved through medical treatments and operations.

“We have fixed bones, cleaned up major life-threatening wounds with septic infection and muscle tears, stabilised and treated people with medicines, intravenous infusions, injections and surgery.

“Food and water is still a major problem, which is a frustration. These people are pulled out of collapsed buildings, treated for medical emergencies and then the next day there is no food or water for them to build their strength.

“We have cared for elderly and young alike, but sadly lost many that we just could not treat.”

Mr Foo, 43, from Henley, and his team help emergency services in disaster-hit areas around the world, including in Sri Lanka in the days after the 2004 tsunami, Pakistan following the 2005 earthquake and the UK during the 2007 floods.

Mr Foo added: “As well as medical treatment and delivery of medicines, we also arranged for deliveries of aid and non-food items like tents, food and water to an orphanage and field hospital where we were working.

“I want to say thank-you to everyone who supported us. We are a small but very effective charity.

“All our specially qualified members are unpaid volunteers and we have no paid administration costs.”

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