FIREFIGHTERS from the Malaga Fire Consortium are travelling to Lebanon to help with the search for survivors after the huge blast that rocked the city.
Five specialists from the NGO GERCCMA (Canine disaster search and rescue team) have volunteered their services and will travel to Beirut in the coming days.
Of the firefighters, three are from Malaga, one is from Sevilla and the other is from Almunecar.
Javier Luque, Pedro Luque and Jair Pereira will travel alongside Jaime Parejo and David Cabrera to join local rescue teams and the Lebanese Army.
“Our hope is none other than finding someone alive who is buried”, said Javier Luque, corporal of the Provincial Firefighters Consortium of Malaga.
The heroic group volunteered their services after Periera contacted the Lebanese ambassador for Spain directly to assist with documentation and travel authorisations.
“The plan will be to arrive in Beirut and be picked up by the Army who will take us to the blast site,” said Luque.
Along with the firefighters, four highly trained sniffer dogs will make the trip, Gollum, Maya, Rasti and Heavy.
The team will be based close to the epicentre to await direction from the local rescue crews.
The NGO team are no strangers to assisting with disaster support.
They have visited over 30 natural and man made disasters since joining the team, including travelling to Turkey, Pakistan, Chile, Haiti, Ecuador and Mexico.
Luque regrets that although the trip is important, they have received no government funding to pay for the trip.
“We have had to finance the trip ourselves, we had to buy our flight tickets and everything,” said Periera.
The NGO is travelling to Beirut to assist in the aftermath of a huge explosion that rocked the port area of the city and claimed the lives of at least 137 people and injured over 5,000.
Initial investigations suggest that the blast was caused by 2,750 tonnes of poorly stored and decaying ammonium nitrate.
Among the injured are five Spaniards, according to Catalan Minister for Foreign Action Bernat Sole, but this claim is yet to be verified by the Spanish interior ministry.