AUSTRALIA: Australia’s Southeast continued to be under emergency alert on Saturday as floods, brought on by days of torrential rain, affected three states and hundreds of people needed to be rescued from floodwaters.
Earlier this week, an extreme weather system brought more than a month’s worth of rain to the southeast of the country, sparking flood warnings for major chunks of Victoria state, southern New South Wales, and Tasmania’s northern regions.
Since early 2022, significant flooding has affected large areas of Australia’s eastern states. At present, the nation is experiencing a third consecutive La Nina weather phenomenon, which brings torrential rainfall.
While floodwaters subsided in some regions on Saturday, the worst was still to come in others, such as the rural Victorian city of Shepparton, northeast of Melbourne.
Major flooding was predicted for Shepparton overnight on Saturday by the nation’s weather service, the Bureau of Meteorology. Jonathan How, a forecaster with the Bureau of Meteorology, said that even though the heavy rain had stopped, extensive flooding continued.
According to the broadcast, “catchments are very, very wet, and rivers have responded very, very swiftly, and these rivers are projected to continue high for at least a few weeks.”
In Rochester, around 200 kilometres (124 miles) north of Melbourne, a man’s body was discovered in floodwaters, prompting Victorian officials to announce the first flood fatality of the disaster.
The Maribyrnong River overflowed its banks on Friday, causing flooding in Melbourne’s west. Anthony Albanese, the prime minister, stated that if required, the federal government will step in to assist those impacted.
In Sydney, Albanese said, “To everyone in western New South Wales, in Victoria, and in northern Tasmania, please know that you are in our thoughts and that our government is prepared to do whatever is necessary to assist, wherever it is required.”
Albanese also wrote on Twitter in regard to the rescues, “Evacuations and rescues have been taking place across Tasmania, Victoria, and NSW today. Whether it’s filling sandbags or checking on neighbours—in the worst of times, we really do see the best of Australians.”
Reporters were informed by Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews that 344 state-wide routes were stopped and that 3,000 applications for emergency funds had been received. Approximately 500 properties were isolated, he claimed, and additional inundations were predicted as certain places’ waters continued to rise.
Emergency services in Victoria reported that more than 350 people were saved from floodwaters.
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