Residents in Seymour, located in the Goulburn Valley of Southeast Australia, received an urgent evacuation order around midday Monday as the region faces severe flooding. This emergency warning is part of a broader crisis; Southeast Australia was hit by floodings, affecting several areas, including Bendigo, where watch and act alerts have been issued.
Emergency services are stretched thin, conducting numerous flood rescues and responding to hundreds of calls across southeastern Australia amidst the deluge, a stark manifestation of Southeast Australia being hit by floodings. In Victoria alone, there have been more than 29 flood rescues in the last 24 hours until 10 am Monday, totalling 49 since January 1.
The Victoria State Emergency Service (VICSES) received 920 calls for assistance during the same period, addressing issues like flooding, fallen trees, and building damage. Flash flooding in the state’s southwest and over 180mm of rain in Heathcote and Redesdale, central Victoria, exacerbate the crisis.
Authorities have issued a major flood warning for the Campaspe River, with the state’s central, north-central, and eastern parts on high alert. This situation marks the fourth major rain event for central Victoria since Christmas, causing significant distress to many homes in the area, as noted by Brian Westley, the City of Greater Bendigo’s acting chief executive. He emphasized the heightened risk of flooding due to saturated grounds and full water catchments.
Evacuations have been necessary in several towns, including about 30 homes in Goornong, northeast of Bendigo, and six homes in Redesdale. Westley anticipates the potential evacuation of 30 families from the Goornong area depending on the day’s developments.
Flood-impacted roads are disrupting access to essential services, employment, and education and have halted waste collection in some areas. Additionally, widespread rains are causing a decline in water quality, raising health concerns. Victoria’s Chief Environmental Scientist, Mark Taylor, has advised the public to avoid affected waterways for at least 48 hours to reduce the risk of gastro or skin rashes.
The crisis has now extended to Southern NSW, with the State Emergency Service deploying additional teams to the region. Efforts are underway to assist communities in preparing their properties, including distributing sandbags.
In South Australia, storms have disrupted the power supply to Coober Pedy Hospital, which is now operating on backup power. The SES confirmed the hospital’s functionality despite the challenges posed by the weather.
As Southeast Australia grapples with this natural disaster, communities brace for further impacts, and emergency services continue their relentless efforts to provide aid and ensure safety.