Brave firefighters have left sunny Sussex to volunteer in severe flooding affecting Eastern Europe.

Crew from West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service have joined a national team of 33 firefighters deployed to help support communities affected by fatal flooding in Serbia and Bosnia-Hercegovina.

More than two dozen people are feared dead in the region after the worst floods in more than a century. Tens of thousands of people have fled their homes as several months of rain fell in a few days and rivers burst their banks.

The crew flew from Manchester airport on Saturday afternoon with colleagues from fire services across the UK including Cheshire, Greater Manchester and Merseyside. They are expected to be volunteering in the region for up to 10 days, 24 hours a day, using life boats and water rescue equipment.

It is believed the West Sussex crew came from a Technical Rescue Unit (TRU) – a team of up to 12 specially trained and equipped firefighters that make up the International Fire Service Team, which assists with disasters overseas.

Some TRU members have previously helped with earthquakes in Japan, Indonesia and New Zealand. The TRU is one of 21 in the UK available for national deployment.

A spokesman for Bosnia's Security Ministry said about a million people - more than a quarter of the country's population - live in the affected areas.

A West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service spokesman said: "A team of 33 Firefighters from Cheshire, Greater Manchester, Hampshire, Lincolnshire, Merseyside, West Midlands, Mid and West Wales and West Sussex have flown from Manchester this afternoon along with rescue equipment including four rigid inflatable boats and engines.

“When deployed the firefighters will be self-sufficient for up to 10 days and operate four powered rescue boat teams, 24 hours a day, in support of the affected communities.”