MORE than 500 mountain rescuers worked to help flood victims in Cumbria at the height of December's disaster, it has emerged.

Members of county teams and squads from further afield joined in the emergency response in the wake of Storm Desmond.

New figures show the scale of the response from mountain rescuers, who worked round-the-clock to help those whose homes and businesses were left devastated.

A report from the Lake District Search and Mountain Rescue Association details the efforts undertaken during the darkest days of the winter crisis.

Richard Warren, chairman of the association, spoke on the floods of December.

He said: "During this period, over 500 team members from both within and from outside the county worked tirelessly to help those in need of evacuation and rescue.

"Many worked 48 hours non-stop."

Teams suffered equipment damage, added Mr Warren.

They also contributed 12,000 hours of volunteer time.

He said: "On Christmas Day, the region mustered 70 out of 150 mountain rescue swift water rescue technicians, along with a further 53 support team members and 30 4X4 vehicles, ready to leave families and be deployed in the event of an expected second storm to hit Cumbria.

"As it was, the heavy rain skirted Cumbria to the south but hit Lancashire and particularly the city of York.

"We therefore asked for volunteers and deployed 46 of our specialist water rescue team members to support the effort of our colleagues."

Mr Warren said they took with them a lot of the experience gained from the floods of 2005, 2009 and this December's storm.

He added: "We remain very proud and privileged to be able to provide our voluntary rescue service.

"It is only possible through the generosity of those we rescue and the people visiting or living within our communities.

"There is very little in the way of central funding, therefore fundraising remains an ongoing and very important task for the teams, with annual costs running at between £30,000 and £80,000 per team and rising."