Thursday, May 26, 2016

the last book I ever read (Susan Southard's Nagasaki: Life After Nuclear War, excerpt four)

from Nagasaki: Life After Nuclear War by Susan Southard:

One of the largest relief stations was set up in Shinkozen Elementary School, a three-story concrete building with shattered windows and other minor damages, situated south of Nagasaki Station and east of the bay, 1.8 miles from the hypocenter. As the news spread that doctors were available there, hundreds gathered outside the school hoping to receive help. Inside, every classroom on every floor was full: four rows per classroom, fifteen people per row, the feet of those in one row touching the heads of those in the next. Each room as enveloped in the smell of burned flesh, urine, feces, and patients’ vomit. Maggots hatched in every open wound. Volunteers carried seawater from Nagasaki Bay, boiled it in large oil drums, and sprinkled it over patients using watering cans. Three classrooms on the first floor were set up as operating rooms. Dr. Miake Kenji from the Sasebo Naval Hospital conducted surgeries in one of the rooms. “Most of the patients had suffered terrible burns all over their bodies,” he recalled. “Many had limbs missing or entrails hanging out. We performed amputations and stump formations and sewed up bellies, but all of the people who came across the operating tables died without even being identified.” The bodies of the dead were carried out and burned so quickly that no one could keep count or record their names.

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