Residents have been ordered to flee their homes before being isolated for days as their town braces for the worst flooding in 30 years.
Victoria’s ongoing flood crisis has entered its second week with four major flood warnings issued for northern parts of the state.
The biggest concern is for Echuca, on the NSW-Victoria border, where the Murray River could reach 95 meters on Friday, higher than its peak during the devastating 1993 floods.
Locals have banded together to build a 2.5km flood levee from sandbags dividing the town in a bid to protect thousands of homes and businesses.
With waters expected to peak in the coming hours, authorities issued an emergency evacuation warning for parts of Echuca along the Campaspe River and Echuca Village on Thursday afternoon.
Residents in affected areas were ordered to leave now before it is too late.
Residents in the regional Victorian town of Echuca have built a sandbag levee to protect thousands of homes and businesses (pictured, residents building the wall outside a local pub)
The town of Echuca on the NSW-Victorian border is part of ‘severe storm trifecta’ set to batter Australia’s east coast
“If you don’t move now, you could be isolated for a number of days. If you choose to stay, the emergency services may not be able to help you,” the VicEmergency warning said.
‘The evacuation route is currently open but may not remain so.’
Flooding has affected sewage systems in Echuca with residents urged to minimize water use and limit showers.
“This will reduce the amount of water sent to the sewer while the floods are high,” the authorities added.
An emergency relief center has been set up at the Bendigo Showground for evacuees.
Emergency evacuation orders were also issued for the neighboring towns of Barmah and Lower Moira.
The river level at Barmah peaked at 6.88m on Thursday, just short of the record high of 7.2 mi 1993.
The authorities have warned that the record will be smashed in the next 30-48 hours with the river expected to peak at 7.6m.
It comes because several hundred Echuca properties could be sacrificed because they are located on the wrong side of the levee.
Despite the evacuation orders, the city is a hive of activity with countless residents spending the last few days building the man-made toll.
Harrowing images showed dozens of Echuca residents struggling to build walls made of sandbags to protect their town from devastating floods.
The death toll from the state’s ongoing flood crisis also rose to two on Wednesday as communities hit by the severe weather were offered more cash relief.
Echuca residents living near the flooded Campaspe River (pictured Monday) were urged to evacuate immediately on Thursday afternoon
Echuca residents are being urged to limit the use of water after flooding affected the city’s sewerage system. In the picture are locals who keep a close eye on rising floods
Dozens of residents have built walls to protect homes, shops, pubs and McDonalds from ongoing flooding (pictured, locals walking past shops with sandbags)
Hundreds of properties on the wrong side of the levy (in red) in Echuca are at risk to protect thousands of homes and businesses on the other side (in green)
Pictures from Wednesday showed locals struggling to pile up the heavy sandbags, while others use construction equipment to put up fences of dirt.
Fire crews were also seen helping to build the mounds with residents working to protect pubs, businesses, homes and the local McDonald’s.
Meanwhile, another bout of wild weather will bring torrential rain to Australia’s east coast, with the NSW-Queensland border the hardest hit.
A massive sandbag wall was built along the outside of Echuca’s McDonalds (above) to protect it from flooding
A home in Echuca is seen lined with sandbags as floodwaters continue to rise
Parts of South Australia’s outback received record amounts of rain on Tuesday and Wednesday, with some areas receiving more rain than was recorded in Victoria.
Queensland’s outback is also coping with heavy storms with some areas expected to see more than 80mm of rain by the end of the week.
The system will also bring more heavy rain to Victoria with the wet weather set to continue across all eastern states until Sunday.
The Victorian floods have claimed the lives of two men, a 65-year-old man and a 71-year-old man (pictured, Echuca residents walking past shops with sandbags)
The State Government has announced a $73.5 million relief package to help farmers and business owners recover from flooding (pictured, a sandbag wall in Echuca)
This means that homes and businesses that are destroyed or damaged can have the properties cleared of hazards at no cost, and the first phase will be coordinated by Emergency Recovery Victoria.
Up to 400 ADF personnel have been deployed to the worst affected areas to assist with sandbag distribution and door knocking.
“We’ve already seen our ADF members hard at work filling sandbags in Shepparton, building dyke banks in Echuca and helping out in Wagga Wagga,” said Prime Minister Anthony Albanese.
‘Now they will also support more people as we go to the clean-up phase of this disaster.’
Federal Emergency Management Minister Murray Watt said the extra aid would help some of the country’s hardest-hit communities.
THE WEATHER IN YOUR CITY
Thursday shower or two. Min 12 Max 23
Friday showers. Min 12 Max 20
Saturday Mostly sunny. Min 9 Max 23
Sunday Partly cloudy. Min 11 Max 25
Thursday Possible showers. Min 14 Max 23
Friday Showers possible. Min 14 Max 22
Saturday Showers increase. Min 13 Max 25
Sunday showers. Min 14 Max 21
Thursday Mostly sunny. Min 10 Max 23
Friday Showers increase. Min 14 Max 23
Saturday showers. Min 15 Max 19
Sunday Showers increase. Min 12 Max 18
Thursday Partly cloudy. Min 8 Max 18
Friday shower or two. Min 9 Max 23
Saturday showers. Min 14 Max 18
Sunday showers. Min 10 Max 15
Thursday Increasing showers. Min 11 Max 20
Friday showers. Possible storm. Min 14 Max 21
Saturday showers. Possible storm. Min 13 Max 21
Sunday showers. Min 13 Max 21
Thursday showers. Min 17 Max 23
Friday showers. Min 18 Max 24
Saturday Showers develop. Min 18 Max 25
Sunday showers. Min 18 Max 22
Thursday showers. Min 17 Max 24
Friday showers. Min 19 Max 24
Saturday showers. Min 19 Max 23
Sunday showers. Min 18 Max 24
Thursday showers. Possible storm. Min 26 Max 34
Friday shower or two. Possible storm. Min 27 Max 34
Saturday shower or two. Possible storm. Min 27 Max 35
Sunday Partly cloudy. Min 28 Max 34