‘Sickening sight’: Looters target Melbourne flood zones
There are fears of a new gastroenteritis outbreak as Victoria cleans up from recent flooding. Photo: AAP
A group of suspected looters is on the run after being spotted fleeing a flood-damaged home in inner-Melbourne on Monday.
Nine network weather presenter Tim Davies said he and his camera crew surprised the three men when they arrived in flood-hit Maribyrnong early on Monday.
“These guys got out of here quick-sticks because they knew we were media and here to tell the story, and we had cameras to show what’s happening at the moment,” Davies told Nine’s Today.
He said he and his crew saw three men in a navy blue Ford Territory, wearing face masks and hoodies, “fly out of the homes” as soon as the Nine crew arrived on the corner of Oakland and Burton streets.
“These guys are obviously up to no good, couldn’t get out of here fast enough,” Davies said.
“[It’s a] sickening sight to see people doing that sort of thing here in the streets of Melbourne early this morning with these residents already going through so much.”
Victoria Police arrived at the home shortly after. They later confirmed an unoccupied house had been looted Monday morning, and that the homeowners had been informed.
It is believed a man wearing high-vis and a face covering entered the flood-hit home and stole several personal items, before fleeing in a car with another two men.
Emergencies Minister Murray Watt told Today said it was “un-Australian” behaviour.
“I met people in the last couple of days who have lost everything, and are really traumatised,” he said.
“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.”
Elsewhere, Melbourne Water has been directed to carry out a review of Flemington Racecourse’s levee wall to determine whether it contributed to last week’s flooding of properties in Maribyrnong and neighbouring Ascot Vale and Kensington.
Flooded rivers expected to peak
Hundreds of residents along swollen Victorian rivers were bracing for the worst on Monday, with record-breaking flooding predicted in the state’s north.
Emergency warnings remain for multiple areas, including Shepparton, Murchison, Echuca, Kialla, Mooroopna, Orrvale, Charlton Barnadown and Elmore.
- See the latest Victorian warnings here
Early on Monday in Echuca, residents and holiday makers were told to immediately leave amid concerns people could become stranded by the floodwaters.
Senator Watt said about 34,000 homes could be inundated or isolated by floodwaters.
He warned the flooding of agricultural properties in Victoria’s north could lead to a food supply shortfall and rising prices, as seen after the northern NSW and Queensland floods earlier this year.
“I met farmers in the last couple of days who were getting very close to bringing in bumper crops of canola and there’s dairy farmers who have been affected and have been having trouble milking their cows,” he told ABC TV on Monday.
The Goulburn River at Shepparton rose overnight to 12.05 metres, with major flooding expected on Monday morning at 12.1 metres.
The Bureau of Meteorology said that was higher than the 1974 flood level of 12.09 metres.
Images show buildings in the middle of town surrounded by a vast inland sea of brown muddy water and residents using sandbags to protect properties.
Emergency Management Commissioner Andrew Crisp said there were 56 requests for rescues overnight in Mooroopna and Shepparton, some of which were yet to be completed.
Hundreds of homes in the area have been flooded, along with another 800 to 900 in Rochester.
“I had the opportunity to fly over Rochester yesterday. To be frank, it’s depressing,” Mr Crisp told ABC TV.
A 71-year-old man was found dead in floodwaters in the backyard of his Rochester home on Saturday.
The Loddon River at Kerang is expected to peak on Tuesday and into Wednesday, with levels similar to the record-breaking January 2011 floods.
A warning has also been issued for the Wimmera River, with Horsham residents warned major flooding was possible on Monday and into Tuesday.
The Campaspe River at Barnadown, Rochester Town and Echuca peaked on Monday morning with major flooding occurring – higher than in 2011.
Disaster recovery payments have been made available to residents in 23 local government areas and a 250-bed camp for displaced people will open at the former COVID-19 quarantine facility in Mickleham.
About 100 ADF personnel have been deployed to help with evacuations and sandbagging.
Major flood warnings are also in place for the Broken, Avoca and Loddon rivers and the Seven and Castle creeks.
The Avoca River could peak about eight metres on Monday morning around Charlton.