Thousands of Victorian Residents Without Phone or Power

Thousands of Victorian Residents Without Phone or Power
People are seen observing flood water in Traralgon, Victoria, Thursday, June 10, 2021. Thousands of Victorians have been left without power as wild winds and flooding hit the state. (AAP Image/James Ross)

Tens of thousands of Victorian residents remain without power or telecommunications as heavy rainfall and flooding continues to impact large parts of the state.

Communities without phone coverage and unable to call triple-zero include: Trentham, King Lake, Dandenong Ranges, South Gippsland, Gembrook, Pyalong, Don Valley, Healesville, Lancefield and Woori Yallock.

More than 56,000 electricity customers are off supply, according to AusNet.

Health Minister Martin Foley said on Saturday repair crews were working to repair gas leaks and power lines from fallen trees in the Dandenong Ranges.

Given that two lives have been lost in floodwaters this week, he implored Victorians to make safe decisions.

“Never drive through flooded roads, avoid the Yarra and Dandenong Ranges,” he said.

People evacuated from the Traralgon area have been given the all clear to return home, as the flood risk begins easing in in some parts of the Gippsland and Yarra Ranges.

Emergency services are surveying the damage, having predicted flood levels would rise overnight in the Yarra River at Yarra Glen, the Thomson River near Sale and Traralgon Creek near Traralgon.

Anyone living, working or holidaying in the Traralgon Creek area was ordered to evacuate before nightfall on Friday, with major flooding expected.

But after a reprieve from torrential rain overnight, the Bureau of Meteorology revised the flood risk for the area on Saturday morning.

Minor flooding is occurring, and Traralgon Creek may reach the “moderate” flood level of four metres around midday, but it is now safe for residents to return.

Some 300 buildings in the area have been impacted by floodwater, according to the State Emergency Service, and 14 roads have been closed.

The coal mine fuelling Yallourn power station in Victoria’s Latrobe Valley has been evacuated with fears swollen rivers nearby could flood the site.

Federal MP for Gippsland Darren Chester said a small part of Traralgon was directly affected by the flood and in most cases residents from that area had family or friends to stay with.

He said the area had had a difficult time recently with drought, bushfires and now floods.

“We’ve had the trifecta in the last 18 months,” he told the ABC.

Aerial images of a swollen Traralgon Creek showed cars submerged under gushing brown water.

Sale is also being inundated with water, with the Thomson River reaching moderate flood levels at Sale and minor flooding occurring nearby at Wandocka.

River levels are steady, but renewed rises are possible with more rain forecast for the catchment on Saturday.

The South Gippsland Highway is now closed between Sale and Langford.

Moderate flooding is also occurring along the Latrobe River at Thoms Bridge and is possible in Rosedale on Sunday.

Further west, residents along the Yarra River from Millgrove to Coldstream are advised to evacuate if it becomes necessary.

The Yarra River at Yarra Glen peaked overnight at moderate flood levels but the river is still rising between Warrandyte and Alphington.

On Friday, a young woman was found in a vehicle in floodwaters at Glenfyne, 200 km southwest of Melbourne, and a man’s body was found in his submerged car at the Gippsland town of Woodside on Thursday.

SES Victoria has had more than 8000 requests for help, with more than half related to fallen trees.

By Andi Yu and Tiffanie Turnbull in Melbourne
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