Victorian flood updates: Shepparton, Echuca brace for Murray River to peak

The victim of an early morning looting at Maribyrnong says the theft of his family’s last few possessions was a “kick in the nuts”.

The victim, who asked not to be identified as he had kept the extent of the damage at his family’s Burton Cr home from his children, said he was alerted to the looting after a Today Show cameraman called police to report three suspicious men coming out of his home around 7am.

The family had been overwhelmed with community support since flood waters from the Maribyrnong River swept through their home.

They moved their valuables and electronics to the second floor, only to have theives steal an estimated $15,000 worth of laptops, ipads, and bicycles.

“That’s it, all their things are gone.”

Among those who were on Monday offering help were total strangers.

“I have been lucky, with all of the positivity the last couple of days, and then this, they just kick you in the nuts,” the victim said.

“The amount of people helping and volunteering, its just been unbelievable.”

He said 30 or 40 friends, family members and total strangers had helped pull furniture and carpet from his home, and pressure his wash walls and floors.

Victoria Police were told a blue Ford Territory pulled up outside a Burton Cr property about 7am on Monday.

It’s believed a man, wearing high-vis clothing, a beanie and a face mask, ransacked the unoccupied home and stole multiple items including iPads and electrical appliances.

Two men remained inside the vehicle during the burglary but fled the scene when the media turned up to report on the impacts of the floods.

It’s understood the homeowner spent a night away for a birthday after floodwaters destroyed parts of the property.

Some other items were dumped at the door, including priceless photos of the homeowner’s children.

Maribyrnong MP Bill Shorten called the looters “disgusting”.

“Having walked around those streets, the fact that someone could look at a flood-damaged house and think they can just help themselves, is really despicable,” he told 3AW.

Emergency Management Minister Murray Watt said the behaviour was “un-Australian”.

“I met people in the last couple of days who have lost everything, and are really traumatised,” he told 9 News.

“So, to have looting happen on top of that is completely unacceptable, and I’m sure that the police are doing everything they can to get that under control.”

Police said the investigation was ongoing.

Anyone with information is urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

Police say there have been no reports of looting from flood-affected towns in regional Victoria.

Communities across northern Victoria have raised concerns homes and businesses in evacuated areas could become the target of opportunistic thieves.

“It happened here during the 2011 floods,” Charlton resident Stephen Perry said.

“My neighbours stayed home yesterday (Sunday) and were keeping an eye on the street.

“It’s a small town. normally I can recognise everyone and their car but during a flood you get so many passing through. Who knows what’s happening.”

– Craig Dunlop and Brooke Grebert-Craig

Too late to leave Murchison, evacuation orders for Charlton

It is now too late to leave Murchison. An evacuation order remains in place, however residents are being warned it is now too late. Major flooding has peaked around 12.05 metres, which is significantly higher than the May 1974 flood.

Charlton and Bunbartha residents are also being ordered to evacuate immediately.

– Brittany Carlson

Premier’s flood package for regional towns

Premier Daniel Andrews has announced a $351 million package to assist regional communities with recovery efforts, as authorities warn the fight is not over.

The state government has committed an extra $165 million to assist with emergency road repairs as Victoria reaches its sixth day of major flooding.

Mr Andrews said crews were working “around the clock” to restore access to roads, with more than 10,000 potholes repaired so far.

“With more rain forecast in the coming days, the immediate focus is on making key roads usable and safe for emergency services and freight, so vital supplies can reach affected communities as quickly as possible,” he said.

The Western, Hume and Loddon Mallee regions, where larger-scale works are required due to extensive damage, will be the key areas of focus, with hundreds of residents isolated as flood waters swamp regional Victoria.

The state’s flood recovery management plan will be granted a $150 million boost, which will be rolled out immediately to assist with a state coordinated clean up in areas like Maribyrnong, where flood waters are receding.

Victorians impacted by the major flooding event who are uninsured will be awarded access to up to $42,250 to help pay for clean-up, repairs, rebuilding, replacing household contents.

The government also announced up to $15 million to help families with housing, health and wellbeing, and financial and legal counselling.

SES chief Tim Wiebusch said while flood waters had subsided in some areas, the fight was not over in regional Victoria.

“There are still many rivers and communities that are under threat of major flooding in these coming days,” he said.

Mr Wiebusch said around 85 per cent of properties in the Rochester township have been inundated.

Over 11,000 applications have been submitted for the government’s $2,000 emergency payment, with 3,000 of those already paid out.

Across the state, more than 1,800 Victorians are currently without power as substations are suspended due to safety concerns.

With regional Victoria facing further disastrous flooding this week, an extra $15 million will also be channeled into Victoria’s emergency response capabilities.

“This event is far from over,” The Premier said on Monday morning.

“This is going to be with us for an extended period.”

Mr Andrews didn’t rule out announcing a state of disaster but said there was currently “no need”.

Emergency Management Commissioner Andrew Crisp agreed, adding that there would be “no benefit whatsoever at the moment”.

He clarified that the establishment of a state of disaster would not affect the government’s ability to offer financial support.

“Not declaring a state of disaster in Victoria, in no way impacts, impedes any of the announcements the Premier has made,” he said.

The state and federal government are yet to finalise disaster funding arrangements.

– Carly Douglas

Resident says levee could have spared Maribyrnong homes

A resident in one of the worst hit streets in Maribyrnong says a small levee in the parks lining the river could have prevented millions of dollars worth of damage to his and his neighbours’ homes.

Eddie Hunter fled his Oakland St, Maribyrnong, home when all five phones in his house rang with emergency services warnings.

Mr Hunter and his wife Carmel previously lost a home in a fire.

“We just knew, get your stuff and go,” Carmel said.

“We thought everyone would have the same response as us.”

SES crews had to pluck a family from the top of a carport across the street.

Mr Hunter said flood levies could easily have protected low-lying homes without ruining the views of parklands that line the Maribyrnong River.

“It all happened in half an hour, it just crept up,” he said.

“We have been here 20 years and its never flooded in that time … we know it has flooded, everyone knows it has flooded, we just thought they had cleared the river better upstream so there was a bit more flow.”

– Craig Dunlop

‘Eerie’ waiting game in Echuca

The Hurn family enjoyed a well deserved beer together on Sunday night after an exhausting day of filling and stacking hundreds of sandbags around their business.

Emotions were high as they looked out at the rapidly rising Murray River, amid worries about how they would be affected.

Ken, Janine and Bianca Hurn have owned the Murray River Holiday Park for seven years but the last few years of that have been tumultuous— first with the covid pandemic and months of booking cancellations, and now an impending flood threat.

Mr Hurn has been preparing for the flood for about a week, since before the rain hit.

He was feeling “anxious” on Sunday, with the waters—already lapping at the edge of their property—expected to rise about another metre.

“It’s eerie and too close for comfort,” Ms Hurn said.

Despite their worries and exhaustion, their spirits had been boosted by the “amazing” community spirit on show on Sunday.

Armed with shovels, friends, family and even strangers streamed in to help them to fill sandbags and do what they could to protect their property.

She added that seeing the flood impact on nearby holiday parks along the Murray — some which have already started to flood — and in nearby communities, like Rochester, was “hard”.

“Now it’s a waiting game,” she said.

– Hayley Elg

Hold-outs rescued from flooded homes

Emergency Management Commissioner Andrew Crisp said multiple floodwater rescues were performed in Victoria’s north on Monday morning.

“We’ve been advising residents in Shepparton, Mooroopna and Kialla for a number of days to evacuate,” he told 3AW.

“Some people have made the decision not to evacuate which has then resulted in the need for them to be rescued.

“But the positive news at this stage is that there are definitely no reports of fatalities or serious injuries.”

Mr Crisp said the most critical towns were Shepparton and Mooroopna with evacuation notices in place for Charlton, Echuca and Bunbartha.

“Echuca had its first peak, so that happened overnight, but as this water works its way up to Goulburn, it will see a second peak in Echuca on Tuesday and Wednesday,” he said.

“Even though the water is slightly receding in Echuca, it’s still got major flooding levels, there’s still significant risk there but it’s the next peak we are looking at.”

Mr Crisp said a State of Disaster had not yet been declared despite wild weather and flooding expected to last four to six weeks.

– Brooke Grebert-Craig

PM offers support to flood ravaged towns

Helicopters that can move generators and heavy equipment have been deployed to Victoria, as flood waters continue to threaten Shepparton and Echuca.

Anthony Albanese on Monday said the towns were under “great pressure” and his government was ready to provide whatever support was requested.

More than 100 defence force personnel are on the ground in Victoria, providing support with evacuations, sandbagging and some early clean-up efforts.

The Prime Minister, who alongside Daniel Andrews flew over flood-affected parts of the state on Sunday, said many bumper crops had been devastated.

But Mr Albanese warned the danger was not over yet, with the potential for further rain events.

“Yesterday when I was in the chopper over Rochester … we watched with just incredulity, two

cars going through what was clearly a flooded road up to the window level,” he said.

“That makes no sense. Do not take a risk. If it’s flooded, forget it. As simple as that.”

– Jade Gailberger

Nervous wait for Shepp as record floodwaters approach

The riverside towns and cities hit by Victoria’s worst flooding in decades face a potential second wave of devastation from widespread rain forecast for much of the state this week.

The wet weather is expected to hit just as the waters at the worst-hit regional towns and cities are expected to start returning to normal levels.

Echuca and Shepparton are both forecast to receive up to 25mm of rain on Thursday, with more rain likely to fall on already sodden ground on Friday and Saturday.

The deluged areas will be just days into their clean-ups when the next rain hits.

But weary Shepparton residents got a reprieve overnight with the swollen Goulburn River rising slower than expected.

The Goulburn River at Shepparton had been expected to peak at 12.2m, but was holding steady at around 12.05m around 6am on Monday.

It is now expected to peak at around 12.1m late Monday morning, which will take it past the 1974 flood level of 12.09m.

An SES spokesperson, speaking from the State Control Centre, said 7300 homes across Shepparton, Mooroopna and Kialla and up to 400 in Echuca are expected to be impacted by these floods.

However, he said it was too early to tell how many houses have already been inundated.

There are 14 major warnings in place across the state.

Residents in Echuca, Charlton and Bunbartha in the state’s north were being told to evacuate immediately at 6am Monday, while those at Shepparton, Mooroopna, Murchison, Orrvale and Kialla West are being told it is too late to leave.

The towns on Sunday were cut off from each other as the main road link – the Peter Ross-Edwards Causeway – was closed.

Stunned locals gathered on the main road into town from Melbourne on Sunday after water from the Goulburn River washed on to the thoroughfare and inundated the Victoria Lake Park foreshore.

Hundreds of residents were evacuated to relief centres set up on the Shepparton Showgrounds to nervously wait out the rising waters.

In flood-ravaged Mooroopna, a Powercor substation had to be switched off, with 5800 residents expected to be without power for days.

Power has also been cut off in Murchison, Tatura and Toolamba.

SES chief operations officer Tim Wiebusch said a big challenge for emergency services was complacency due to “blue-sky flooding”.

“The rain may have stopped and we might be seeing the odd shower but it’s more obvious (the risk) to people when there’s heavier rain,” Mr Wiebusch said.

“So we are advising people, please listen to the warnings.”


The heavy rainfall that contributed to rapidly rising water in the Campaspe and Goulburn rivers in recent days has flowed into the Murray River, putting the twin border towns of Echuca and Moama at risk of flooding.

On Sunday, the water had begun escaping the banks of the Murray, threatening homes and businesses in Echuca and Moama.

According to the Bureau of Meteorology, the Campaspe River at Echuca peaked around 96.25m (Australian Height Datum) late Sunday afternoon.

The river is expected to remain around 96.2m on Monday morning, due to elevated Murray River levels, but is falling slowly.

“Major flooding is expected to continue for the next few days,” a flood warning read.

It has been reported that up to 400 homes in Echuca could be impacted by this flood event with further rain on the way.

Residents were busy piling up sandbags to protect holiday parks on the water’s edge on Sunday afternoon, as it had already seeped into parks on the NSW side of the river.

“We are expecting over this week to see further rain,” SES chief operations officer Tim Wiebusch said.

“The Bureau has indicated that we could see another 20mm to 50mm of rain, particularly over the northeast catchments, in the later part of (the) week.”

The SES could not say what effect the forecast rain would have on river heights.

Mr Wiebusch said his agency would update its plans in coming days, as the weather forecast “continues to firm up”.


Emergency workers are struggling to get food deliveries into the Rochester disaster zone.

Some residents who stayed in the town have already begun ripping out carpet and ruined furniture.

However, the town’s supermarket remains cut off and the roads have been badly broken up by the floodwaters.

Rochester SES unit controller Tim Williams said crews feared people returning home would get stuck on the roads.

Mr Williams said the river level was still above major flood height and people should delay their return to the town.

Emergency workers were also trying to secure skip bins to start loading debris.

The flood-ravaged community is still mourning the loss of Kevin Wills, 71, who was found in his backyard.


An amazing community effort has saved some businesses in Murchison from being wiped out in the catastrophic Victorian floods.

Nicholls federal Nationals MP Sam Birrell said parts of the town — about 160km north of Melbourne — were badly damaged by floodwater.

“There is a levee bank between the garden and the river bank – there’s the shops on one side of the road and the garden and then the river on the other,’’ he said.

“That (levee) seems to have done its job thanks to the furious efforts of locals to sandbag and pump water from the Main St back into the river over the levee.

“(It’s an) amazing effort by the locals.

“That seems to have saved, from my information, the Main St businesses but unfortunately there have been some houses that have been inundated and a winery called Murchison Winery … has been damaged but its cellar door is intact.”

He said he hoped the town was past the worst of the flood.

“All that water is now swelling around the Shepparton area and there is also significant water in the Main St of Mooroopna.”

He called on the state government to ask Canberra for urgent cash to help flood victims rebuild.

Additional reporting by Hayley Elg, Kimberley Seedy, Julieanne Strachan

Originally published as Victorian floods: Shepparton, Echuca brace for major flooding, looters hit homes

Victorian flood updates: Shepparton, Echuca brace for Murray River to peak Source link Victorian flood updates: Shepparton, Echuca brace for Murray River to peak

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