Prime Minister Anthony Albanese toured flooded areas in the southeastern state of Victoria on Sunday – with emergency services warning that waters as high as 12 metres are expected to inundate thousands of properties.
Albanese said the scenes were “shocking” as he visited the town of Bendigo and flew over the town of Rochester in a helicopter, where a 71-year-old man was found dead Saturday in a flooded backyard.
“By the end of today, over 100 ADFs [Australian Defence Force] Personnel will be on the ground in Victoria,” the Albanian told reporters.
ADF personnel are assisting with flood relief, recovery and efforts to prevent rising water levels expected in the coming days.
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews, speaking alongside Albanians, said 355 roads in Victoria remained closed due to flooding and “approximately 6,000” homes around the town of Mooroopna remained without power.
“There’s a very significant challenge there – just the amount of water and the levels that are reached,” Andrews said.
Emergency warnings are in effect in and around the Shepparton area, including a “too late to leave” warning for residents.
Flooding in the area is expected to rise to 12.2 metres, inundating more than 7,000 properties, Victoria Emergency Services’ Tim Wiebusch said on Sunday.
The 71-year-old died on Saturday, bringing the number of people killed in floods in southeastern Australia to two over the past week.
The body of a 46-year-old man was found in an underwater vehicle near Bathurst, NSW, on October 11.
Victoria Police said the circumstances surrounding the latest death of a 71-year-old man were still unclear.
Hundreds of people have been rescued, according to Wibusch, who warned that more evacuation orders would be issued in the coming days.
Wild weather has hit Australia recently. Historic rains from La Niña flooded rivers and left thousands homeless.
Speaking on Saturday, Mr Andrews said the number of flooded homes and isolated communities “will almost certainly increase as we see flood peaks”.