Businesses ruined, hearts broken but Lismore soldiers on
STANDING amongst the sodden ruin of her once pristine bakery, Kim Nguyen's face is wet with tears.
Her face is blank with shock and despair as she looks over the detritus of the Woodlark St business. of which she was so proud.
Now it's simply a sodden mess.
With her are family members and friends, all working to clear a tangled jumble of machinery, baking ingredients and spoiled breads, pies and cakes.
Cay and Trong Nguyen and Thu Le, are busy clearing out their bakery, but it's plain to see they feel overwhelmed by the task ahead.
While the retail front is a mess of mud, toppled cold drink cabinets and ruined food, out the back in the kitchen, the heart of their business has been split open.
Ovens, refrigerators, mixing and baking equipment lie on the floor, the result of the flood with tore through their shop and left an ugly mess behind.
Ms Nguyen was too distressed to make comment, but she invited the Northern Star to come through her shop, pointing out where the water rose to above her head and indicating the destruction of the equipment used to bake delicious biscuits, caked and breads.
It's a common sight, with many shopkeepers and small business owners standing in gumboots, hosing out the remains of their businesses.
The SES may have an evacuation order still in place, but for some, the lure to get their businesses back on track and keep their family fed, bills paid and fulfil their obligations to much-loved customers, has overcome any thought of personal safety.
Earlier today the SES announced they will be doing door-knocks to advice people on safe cleaning up.
Across the street, Frank Reginato is busy sweeping out water and mud from Mohican Pink, the hairdressing salon run by wife Jo and daughter Stiva.
"My wife is devastated," he said.
"We lost a brand new washing machine and dryer."
At the newsagents' in Molesworth St, Keiran Scott and his son Sebastian, 7, are standing in their shop assessing the damage.
The mess of magazine, newspapers, stationery and the 1001 other items of their trade are saturated.
A few streets away, Florence and Doug Woodrow are cleaning out their sewing machine shop.
But unlike many of their peers, they saw the flood coming and moved their stock either upstairs out of harm's way or to their home outside Casino.
The pair have run their business for 17 years in Lismore and Mr Woodrow clearly recalls the 1974 flood.
"We only lost one sewing machine," he said.
"We started two days before the flood hit," Mrs Woodrow added.
At the Uniting church, senior minister Robert Griffith is devastated by the flood which tore the very fabric out of the church and the Red Dove Cafe.
Walking gingerly across the mud, he gestures to the pews and organ which have been tossed by the flood waters.
"The pipe organ has been trashed, the carpets we put up on it out of harms way were ruined then the organ toppled over," he said.
"Our kitchen is ruined, the till is full of water as is the lift shaft and refrigerators were tossed about like matchboxes."
Anyone wanting to assist can contact those coordinating efforts via Lismore Helping Hands & After Flood Clean Up - Northern NSW.
Businesses can contact the Lismore Chamber of Commerce and Industry for post-flood resources for businesses.