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Defense Force personnel called in to help flood-hit Victoria

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The Australian Defense Force will increase its aid to flood-affected residents in Victoria amid a worsening crisis in the upstate.

Prime Minister Daniel Andrews has said some families will not be able to return home for “extended periods” as the Commonwealth prepares to reopen a COVID-19 quarantine facility for displaced residents.

Late Sunday, emergency flood warnings were issued for the Campaspe River from Lake Eppalock to Rochester, and Fairy Dell, Kanyapella South, Koyuga and Nanneella.

The river at Echuca was peaking with major flooding higher than in January 2011, emergency authorities said.

Residents of Lake Eppalock in Barnadown and Barnadown in Elmore have been ordered to leave if it is safe to do so. It was too late for those living between Elmore and Rochester, who were advised to take shelter.

Those in Fairy Dell, Kanyapella South, Koyuga, and Nanneella were told to seek higher ground.

Earlier, emergency authorities ordered residents of Charlton and Echuca to leave their homes immediately, where up to 400 properties could be affected.

Residents of Shepparton, Orrvale, Murchison and Mooroopna have been told it is too late to leave their communities.

Stephanie Turpin said the water rose quickly overnight and her home in South Shepparton was surrounded by water but not flooded.

“We’re pretty high and pretty safe,” she told AAP on Sunday.

Ms Turpin said police advised residents to leave on Saturday and again early on Sunday, but decided to stay and defend her property.

“There’s no way to leave now,” she said.

“The community sticks together and helps each other. People offer sandbags to other people in the neighborhood.

She said some of the water was flowing quickly and dozens of homes and cars were flooded.

“But people are making the most of it. They have canoes and floats. It doesn’t happen very often. »

According to Victoria State Emergency Services, more than 7,300 homes and businesses in the Shepparton area could be affected by rising waters, with possible flooding in around 2,500 of them.

There have been 146 flood rescues in the past 24 hours, the majority in the Shepparton area, the SES said.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese visited the flood-affected areas with Prime Minister Andrews, where an estimated 9,000 people are believed to be affected.

Disaster recovery payments will be made available to residents of 23 local government areas and a 250-bed Displaced Persons Camp will be opened at the former Mickleham Quarantine Facility.

About 100 ADF personnel are also on their way to help with evacuations and stockpiling sandbags in the worst-hit area.

“We are working across federal, state and local governments to ensure that all support is provided to these communities that are under such tremendous pressure,” Mr. Albanese told reporters.

“Australians are coming together, they are helping each other and once again we are seeing at the worst of times, the best of Australian character.”

Shepparton has been hit by major flooding, with the swollen Goulburn River expected to continue to rise until Sunday before peaking at 12.2 meters early Monday.

That was higher than the 1974 flood stage of 12.09 meters, the Bureau of Meteorology said.

Television footage showed buildings in the middle of the city surrounded by a vast inland sea of ​​brown water and residents using sandbags to stop it.

Premier Andrews said the floods were different from other floods because heavy rainfall had soaked catchment areas and more rain was forecast.

“These peaks (of the river), even once they move away from the highest level, there will still be water in the communities and the houses will remain uninhabitable for long periods of time,” he said. declared.

Major flooding peaked at Murchison, where the Goulburn peaked at 12 metres.

It also affected communities along the Avoca River as far as Charlton, where the waterway’s rise had swelled to 7.73 meters on Sunday morning.

The river in Charlton could peak at 8 meters early Monday.

The River Wimmera is also swollen, with residents of Horsham warning major flooding was possible on Monday and Tuesday.

Major flood warnings are also in place for the Broken, Avoca and Loddon rivers, and Seven and Castle creeks.

Residents of Kerang have been told to relocate or be isolated for at least a week.

Echuca is expected to be hit by two flood peaks, one Tuesday and another later in the week.

It is estimated that more than 350 roads remain closed in flood-affected areas and around 6,000 properties are without power.

-PAA