Residents prepare sandbags in Shepparton Showground in Victoria state Residents prepare sandbags in Shepparton Showground in Victoria state 

Heavy floods force thousands from homes in Australia

Floods in southeastern Australia displace thousands of people from their homes, with housing and farm land beneath water, and leave at least 1 person dead in the town of Rochester.

By Alastair Wanklyn

As floods in southeastern Australia have forced thousands of people from their homes, officials in the state of Victoria have told residents in dozens of towns to evacuate.

But in the town of Shepparton, residents were told it is too late to leave.

"If you have not evacuated, you should shelter in the highest location possible," a text alert said. "If floodwater has entered your home ... remain on top of tables, chairs, benches and beds."

Among the areas under water are parts of the city of Melbourne.

Tributes to volunteers

On a visit to the town of Seymour, Minister for Emergency Management Murray Watt noted that water was still high even though the floods peaked in the town on Friday.

Mr. Watt paid tribute to the officials and volunteers who are trying to help people homeless, and those clearing mud and debris.

"We've got defence force personnel out right now in communities across Victoria, and today we've activated a range of disaster recovery payments for people across Victoria and Tasmania as well," Mr. Watt said.

It is the second time this year eastern Australia has suffered flooding.

Aid for flood victims

In Pakistan this summer around 33 million people were affected by floods, with 1,700 people killed. At that time, Catholic aid agency Caritas appealed to Australians to provide funds for food, tents and safe drinking water.

Now, it is Australians who need the help. Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said: "Australians are coming together, they are helping each other out and once again we are seeing at the worst of times, the best of the Australian character."

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16 October 2022, 15:38