Lismore doctor shocked by ?awful devastation

By BRIAN PEZZUTTI

I DID a one-hour tour of the city to get an idea of the big picture and, as you've seen on TV, it's just awful.

We went to the beach where they lost 1000 troops and back for 200 to 300 metres there's just nothing.

You can see on the big trees where the water has stripped off the bark for at least 45 to 50 feet (13 metres).

Where the fish market and the harbour were there are all these boats just slammed up against the bridge ? big fishing trawlers smashed one into the other.

As we drove across the bridge you could see a pile of rubble five metres high. At the very bottom I noticed an arm sticking out of the rubble. There's still a lot of bodies about.

The place has just been devastated.

Our driver, who we hired so our team leader can go to meetings, said his family heard the shock from the earthquake and they were all talking outside and someone shouted: "Water, water!".

They looked down the street and saw the water coming at them slowly and they ran and the water started coming faster.

They got to a house and up on to the roof, but got separated from their grandmother. They found her later ? she had got to the roof of another house.

The water stayed less than 15 minutes and then it was gone. It was just panic.

Others have said the same thing. The water came slowly and then more quickly.

It's interesting down at the beach ? the grass is still there. All the buildings are just gone, and the grass is browned from the salt water, but it's still there.

I have never seen so many excavators and caterpillar tractors going.

The Indonesians are doing a fantastic job ... sifting through the rubble with police there so they can get any bodies.

Melbourne trauma surgeon Annette Holleen and I are going to the Medecins Sans Frontieres hospital two hours' drive from here, until the Belgian surgical team arrives, to do urgent surgery. We're all packed.

We think we'll be going home on Friday or Saturday.



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