By Angus Watson, CNN
Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese toured flooded areas in the southeastern state of Victoria on Sunday – as emergency services warned that waters of up to 12 meters were expected to inundate thousands of properties.
Albanese said the scenes were ‘devastating’ during his visit to the town of Bendigo and on a helicopter ride over the city of Rochester, where a 71-year-old man was found dead in a flooded yard Saturday.
“At the end of today, more than 100 ADF [Australian Defence Force] staff will be on the ground in Victoria,” Albanese told reporters.
ADF personnel are assisting with rescue, recovery and protection efforts against water levels expected to rise in the coming days.
Speaking alongside Albanese, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said 355 roads remain closed in Victoria due to flooding and “around 6,000” properties around the town of Mooroopna remain without electricity.
“There’s a really big challenge there – just the amount of water and the levels it’s reaching,” Andrews said.
Emergency warnings are in effect in and around the Shepparton area, including a ‘too late to leave’ warning for residents.
Flood waters in this area are expected to reach 12.2 meters, which would inundate more than 7,000 properties, Tim Wiebusch of the Victoria State Emergency Service said on Sunday.
The 71-year-old’s death on Saturday brought to two the number of people killed in flooding in southeastern Australia last week.
On October 11, the body of a 46-year-old man was discovered in a submerged vehicle near Bathurst in New South Wales.
Victoria Police say the exact circumstances surrounding the 71-year-old’s latest death remain unclear.
Hundreds of people have already been rescued, according to Wiebusch, who warned that more evacuation orders will be issued in the coming days.
Wild weather beat Australia recently. Historic rainfall, brought on by La Niña conditions, has caused rivers to swell beyond their banks and left thousands homeless.
Speaking on Saturday, Andrews had said the number of flooded homes and isolated communities “will almost certainly increase as we see the peak of flooding”.
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