Australian PM tours flood-hit parts of Victoria as crisis batters three states

Australian prime minister Anthony Albanese toured flood-hit parts of Victoria as three states continue to deal with the aftermath of the “very severe weather event”.

Emergency services warned that waters up to 12 metres are expected to inundate properties in some areas.

Two days of rain had triggered flash flooding in southeast Australia displacing thousands of people across the states of Victoria, New South Wales and the island of Tasmania.

“Premier [of Victoria] Daniel Andrews and I saw first-hand today how the rising water has damaged homes and businesses,” the prime minister tweeted.

Torrential downpours dumped over a month’s worth of rain in two days, with many rivers, including Maribyrnong in Melbourne’s west and the Goulburn in the north, seeing a dramatic increase in water level.

Australia’s east coast has experienced a “very severe weather event” since early last year due to the recurring La Nina weather phenomenon.

At least one person – a 71-year-old man – has died in the flooding as of 15 October, according to local news reports.

“Rochester in Victoria has seen devastation from the floods… Sadly, one person has lost their life,” Mr Albanese said.

Flooding was worst in Victoria, especially in Shepparton where thousands of residents were told it was too late to evacuate as flood waters rose.

Officials say over 350 roads remain closed in flood-affected areas, and nearly 6,000 properties are without power.

The already swollen Goulburn River is expected to continue to inundate neighbourhoods through Sunday, and peak at 12.2 metres early Monday, local news reported.

“There are emergency warnings in place for the Goulburn Valley and Echuca area. Depending on where you are, you need to either evacuate now, or shelter in place because now it is too late to leave,” Mr Andrews tweeted.

The prime minister said the floods have affected both urban and regional communities, adding that 60 Australian Defence Force (ADF) personnel were on the ground.

“Federal funds have already started to be distributed, ADF troops are on the ground, and the government stands ready to provide whatever assistance we can to affected communities,” he said.

Authorities continue to help locals in sandbagging, evacuations, and resupplying resources for isolated communities.

“At times of crisis, Australians want all levels of government to work together – and that’s what we’re doing. Financial support is available for residents in 44 Local Government Areas across NSW, Victoria and Tasmania affected by floods,” the prime minister said.

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