Hundreds of people living along swollen Victoria rivers are preparing for the worst as record flooding is predicted in the north of the state.
Emergency alerts have been issued for several areas including Shepperton, Murchison, Echuca, Kiara, Moorupuna, Orval, Charlton Burnadown and Elmore.
Early Monday morning in Echuca, residents and vacationers were told to evacuate immediately amid concerns that flooding could leave people stranded.
Federal Emergency Management Minister Murray Watt said about 34,000 homes could be inundated or stranded by the floods.
He warned that flooding farmlands in northern Victoria could lead to food shortages and higher prices, as was seen after flooding in northern New South Wales and Queensland earlier this year. .
“In the last few days, I’ve met farmers who are nearing a bountiful harvest of canola, and some dairymen are struggling to milk because of the impact,” he told ABC Television on Monday.
The Goulburn River in Shepperton rises to 12.05 meters (41 feet) overnight, with major flooding expected at 12.1 meters Monday morning.
This is higher than the 1974 flood level of 12.09m, the Bureau of Meteorology said.
The image shows buildings in the middle of a town surrounded by a vast inland sea of brown muddy water and residents using sandbags to protect their property.
Emergency Management Commissioner Andrew Crisp said there were 56 rescue requests overnight in Moorupuna and Shepperton, some of which have yet to be completed.
Hundreds of homes in the area were flooded, along with another 800 to 900 in Rochester.
“I had the opportunity to fly over Rochester yesterday. It’s frankly depressing,” Crisp told ABC TV.
A 71-year-old man was found dead in floodwaters in his Rochester backyard on Saturday.
Flooding has receded in Mariveenon, where police confirmed vacant homes were looted Monday morning.
A man wearing high-definition vision and a face covering broke into the flooded house and stole some personal belongings before two other men are believed to have fled in a car waiting inside.
Melbourne Water has been instructed to investigate the embankment wall at Flemington Racecourse to determine whether it contributed to the flooding of the Mulliveenon and Kensington facilities.
Kerang’s Loddon River is expected to peak Tuesday and Wednesday at levels similar to record-breaking floods in January 2011.
A warning has also been issued for the Wimmera River, with Horsham residents warning of possible major flooding Monday through Tuesday.
The Campaspe River in Burnadown, Rochester Town and Echuca peaked Monday morning, causing massive flooding. This is higher than in 2011.
Since heavy rains hit the state on Wednesday, the Victorian Emergency Service has received more than 4,750 requests for assistance, including more than 500 flood relief requests.
Residents in 23 municipal areas now have access to disaster recovery payments. Mickleham’s former COVID-19 quarantine facility will open his 250-bed camp for displaced persons.
Approximately 100 ADF personnel are deployed to assist with evacuation and transport of sandbags.
Major flood warnings have also been issued for the Broken River, Avoca River, Loddon River, Seven Creek and Castle Creek.
The Avoca River could peak around 8 meters around Charlton on Monday morning.