A fire fighter has returned to the UK after volunteering to help the search and rescue effort in Nepal.
Mark Gatfield, 41, of Mill Lane, Carshalton, who works for the Surrey Fire and Rescue service, left for Nepal on May 2, with Serve On to aid with the humanitarian effort in the country.
Serve On is a non-profit group that, among other duties, acts as emergency responders to natural disasters.
Working in the outlying villages and small towns around the country’s capital Kathmandu to search for survivors following the 7.8 magnitude earthquake that struck on April 25.
He said: “It was all a bit surreal really.
“Many of the houses were ruined with families inside, trapped under the rubble. In some cases our dogs were able to find survivors, but in a lot of cases there was nothing that we could do.”
He added: “It was life as normal for a lot of people.
“You would see a building completely collapsed, but next door a shop would be open and selling goods for the survivors.
“Even those who had lost family and friends were calm in the face of it. Of course they wanted the bodies of those they cared about to be returned to them, but it was so they could send their spirits on.
“It isn’t a criticism, but shows a different outlook on life and how important it is that they hold onto their religious beliefs in difficult times.
“It was all very humbling.”
“I really want to thank the Surrey Fire and Rescue service for letting me go out there and do my part for those people.”
Mr Gatfield worked out in Nepal for a week trying to help the thousands hit by the earthquake
After news of the second earthquake that hit Nepal Mr Gatfield said that he was keeping an eye on the situation, but that he had not received any request to return to the country.
Mr Gatfield said: “We’ve been in close contact with the Gurkha forces over there, but they still have a lot of supplies from the last earthquake.
“But I’m still keeping a look out for what is happening over there, so far though we have had no request to deploy to Nepal.”