From The Australian http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,20867,19838466-601,00.html
Aussies run as tsunami shatters 'beautiful place'
Stephen Fitzpatrick, Batu Karas, southern Java
July 19, 2006
ANDREW Warnbrunn was out the back of his house cleaning a red snapper for dinner when the Geelong masters student felt the earth move - and move, and move, for more than two minutes.
"I stood up, looked out through the palm trees and saw a fishing boat shoot straight up in the air," he said. "That's when it clicked - I yelled out 'Tsunami', ran inside and grabbed my wife and son, and we ran."
The toll from Indonesia's latest tsunami climbed to 327 last night with 510 injured.
The tsunami was triggered by a 7.7 magnitude earthquake about 170km to the south of Batu Karas, at 3.19pm local time (6.19pm AEST) on Monday.
Warnbrunn's Jakarta-born wife Erni and one-year-old son Ozzie spent Monday night in the foothills above Batu Karas, along with most of their neighbours.
"I was scared shitless when it happened, mate," said Warnbrunn, 34, who has been visiting the area for 14 years and is completing research at Newcastle University into the impact of change on fishing communities.
"I didn't stop to look or even think," he said. "I didn't think we'd have enough time."
One of four Australians who live in the village, Warnbrunn was adamant that the community could be rebuilt - despite having lost 12 people, including two children, in the disaster.
Neighbour Graham Malligan, 45, who runs two fishing boats out of Batu Karas crewed by local fishermen, described the sound of the approaching waves as "like a 747 taking off".
"When I saw the boats flinging up into the air, I ran to get the missus and my kid, jumped on the motor bike and off we went," Malligan said, gazing across the mud and splintered destruction of people's homes.
The former Sydney electrician described the community that adopted him six years ago as "very beautiful, very tight-knit - everyone looks after everyone else. It's just as you'd expect in a fishing community".
He said he expected the village to be rebuilt but noted that the greatest handicap was the disaster's unfortunate timing, with the community's most important resource - its fishing boats - largely ruined.
Up and down a stretch of the southern coast of this Indonesian island, traditional boats lie shattered and slammed up against the wreckage of flattened huts.
"The fishing season had just started about two weeks ago; the big fish come with the cold currents and these people had just started to put a few dollars in their pockets and pay off their bills," he explained.
"This is not what they needed."
Darwin man Lyal Mackintosh, who works with local entrepreneur Agus Kuswanda running a surf shop in Batu Karas, described the tsunami as "a tragedy, but one you almost have to expect in such a geologically active country".
"And I'm very sympathetic to Australian flood victims but this is completely different," Mackintosh said. "The effect is different - these people have almost nothing to begin with."
Making the trek out of the remote village with its clear deep waters yesterday was a group of French and Belgian PE teachers on a surfing holiday - including one, Elsa Pages, 28, who was surfing at the sheltered end of Batu Karas bay when the giant waves struck.
"I saw her and wanted to run to help her but I knew I couldn't," said Pages's boyfriend, Thomas Jaffrey, also 28. "I was thinking what best to do - so I ran to the hills with everyone else. Then I came back. She was fine."
Pages said she had decided not to go back into the surf yesterday - "but that's only because there was no waves", her boyfriend joked.
Wayne Proctor, a 46-year-old maths teacher at the Australian International School in Jakarta, said he and his wife were walking along a footpath in the coastal resort of Pangandaran when they heard a strange noise. "We heard this roar like a waterfall, a huge waterfall, coming closer and closer, and it was very, very windy. We ran out into the street and we could see water all over the street," he said.
Mr Proctor said he was lucky they were about 1km back from the beach and not in the beachfront hotel where they had been staying when the deadly tsunami struck. "Had we been inside the hotel, I'm sure we would have been dead," he said. "We would not have survived because the waters that swept into our room were at least six feet (nearly 2m) high," he said.
Their hotel was almost completely demolished by the waves, Mr Proctor said, as he and his Indonesian wife returned to the resort area from the hills where they spent Monday night with other survivors.
Mr Proctor said he had been coming for holidays to Pangandaran, a sleepy vacation spot boasting one of Java's loveliest beaches, for 14 years.
Additional reporting: AFP
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