When Tauranga couple Jan and John Beamish arrived in the earthquake hit region of Padang in Indonesia, they were confronted by the sight of hundreds of downed buildings.
They are part of a team of six TroppoDoc volunteers from New Zealand who headed to Padang early this month.
Dr Derek Allen, who established TroppoDoc,  managed to send a report from the devastated area to the Bay of Plenty Times.
He said after making contact with the temporary United Nations headquarters, they  took a truck to  remote areas about three to four hours out of Padang, where subsistence farmers were devastated by the quake.
The villagers have been left  with  few resources.
"Yesterday [Wednesday] we distributed 70 care boxes to families  and administered medicine and wound care," Dr Allen said.
He said these villages looked like a war zone, with homes crumbled  on the ground while others were badly damaged, forcing families to live among the rubble or under makeshift shelter.
He said people were still sleeping outside for fear of another quake.
"In the places we are working there have been many deaths and some houses have slipped down the steep hillsides with their occupants inside.
"There is no house insurance here and many families are likely to be paying off borrowed money to build their houses."
Dr Allen said some children they met had lost both parents, and some people had lost  many members of their extended families.
"Fear, anxiety, depression are obvious, no one knows when the next big aftershock will come to completely collapse the teetering homes they are sheltering under.
"Many people have fled to  Padang, but there is much destruction with the search for missing bodies continuing, and if found the death toll will rise."
Indonesian officials have  said the death toll from the September 30 quake on Sumatra island had reached 784, with little hope remaining for 242 people  still missing.
At least 180,000 buildings were toppled or damaged in the quake, which also caused landslides that swept away entire villages in the hills.
 Dr Allen said yesterday their team saw 70 people who had complaints ranging from back pain  to chest infections from sleeping in the open.
Surveys for damage assessment are just starting in some areas, more than two weeks after the initial severe shock,  he said.
"Our team of six - two doctors, two nurses and two engineers - was sometimes in tears seeing the immensity of the tragedy here.
"As far as we know, we are the only New Zealand team to help the people of Indonesia."