Traralgon evacuates again as power outage drags on, second body found in flood water

Traralgon evacuates again as power outage drags on, second body found in flood water

11th June 2021 Off By adpublisher

Nina Barake.

A Victoria Police spokeswoman said search and rescue officers located a body, believed to be that of missing 20-year-old woman Nina Barake, in floodwaters about 10.40am. Ms Barake was last seen leaving her home in nearby Simpson in a white ute with her dogs on Wednesday.

Emergency services have received 8100 requests for assistance since Wednesday, 1900 of which are still active, and there have been 42 flood rescues over the past 24 hours.

SES commander Jackson Bell said “this will be definitely one for the record books for us as a state.

“A majority of those which remain are for trees down, building damage and of course flooding,” he said.

Commander Bell urges people in affected areas to be aware of power lines during the clean-up period.

“As people start to go back to their properties and cleaning up, keep clear of any foreign power lines because we know there are a number still potentially live,” he said.

AusNet spokeswoman Helena Lilley said more than 86,300 people were still without power on Friday afternoon.

“The worst-affected areas are Croydon, Lilydale, Leongatha and Mordialloc, but the list is very long,” she said.

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Residents in the Traralgon area were issued with a new evacuation alert at 12.40pm, ahead of major flooding possible overnight and Saturday morning.

Victoria SES chief officer operations Tim Wiebusch said the onset of river flooding was causing real concern.

Emergency services doorknocked homes and relocated a caravan park in Sale, where the Thompson River was expected to impact the town on Friday evening.

On the outskirts of Melbourne, the Healesville-Yarra Glen Road was closed on Friday and the racecourse and 20 properties were expected to come under threat, Mr Wiebusch said. Flood warnings were downgraded to moderate on Friday evening.

A major flood warning remained on Friday evening for Traralgon Creek. There was also a flood warning for Sale.

Mr Wiebusch said the biggest challenge on Friday was the Traralgon community because, while the river was receding and the Princes Highway had reopened, more rain was forecast.

That forecast includes 80 to 100 millimetres of rain set for the Traralgon catchments later on Friday and overnight, when major flooding is expected to return.

“It’s been a tough few days for southern parts of Victoria including Gippsland, and unfortunately there’s a lot more rain and wind to come,” Bureau of Meteorology senior meteorologist Dean Narramore said on Friday afternoon.

“People can be waking up once again to flooded homes and communities, in the early hours of Saturday morning.”

Mr Narramore said while the wind wouldn’t be as strong as the 100km/h gusts seen on Wednesday night, strong wind on Friday night could cause more trees to fall.

Les Davidson sweeps water in the front yard of his Traralgon home after the recent flooding in the Latrobe Valley.

Les Davidson sweeps water in the front yard of his Traralgon home after the recent flooding in the Latrobe Valley.Credit:Blake Bourne

The rain is expected to ease around lunchtime on Saturday.

Thirty homes have already been affected by floodwaters in Traralgon, in addition to homes in the Hazelwood and Maffra areas.

Traralgon resident Les Davidson has lost most of his possessions in the flood, including guitars, accordions and boxes of documents.

The floors of his house were also flooded when a semi-trailer drove past on Thursday morning, sending waves of brown water through the door.

Storm damage to the back yard of Les Davidson’s Traralgon home after the recent flooding in the Latrobe Valley.

Storm damage to the back yard of Les Davidson’s Traralgon home after the recent flooding in the Latrobe Valley.Credit:Blake Bourne

Mr Davidson had tried to flag down the driver to rescue him from the rising water.

“He just looked at me,” Mr Davidson said. “I wanted to get out of here. I was panicking.”

Traralgon Football Netball Club president Kevin Foley surveys the damage to the clubrooms from the recent floods.

Traralgon Football Netball Club president Kevin Foley surveys the damage to the clubrooms from the recent floods.Credit:Blake Bourne

He was eventually rescued by a fire truck and treated by paramedics.

At the nearby football ground, the water poured into the clubrooms, picking up freezers and leaving them leaning against the wall.

Traralgon Football Netball Club president Kevin Foley said the flooding was the worst of four major floods he’d seen in 28 years.

Mr Foley watched a live security camera stream on Thursday as the water engulfed the field. It rose above the boundary fence and into the stands.

Electricity outages stopped some Victorian schools reopening on Friday, as coronavirus restrictions eased throughout the state.

Warrandyte High School and Anderson’s Creek Primary School were both closed. The schools posted messages on their Facebook pages on Thursday night, saying they hoped to have electricity back on by Tuesday when students returned from the Queen’s Birthday long weekend.

A general view of  storm damage to the Traralgon Football Netball clubrooms after the recent storms and flooding.

A general view of  storm damage to the Traralgon Football Netball clubrooms after the recent storms and flooding.Credit:Blake Bourne

Lilydale High School principal Wendy Powson arrived at the school on Thursday to find it had no power and was strewn with fallen trees, including one which fell on a toilet block.

Two people have lost their lives in floodwaters in the past 24 hours.

Gippsland flood victim Brian Gilliland.

Gippsland flood victim Brian Gilliland.

On Thursday afternoon, a rescue team recovered 69-year-old Brian Gilliland’s body in the South Gippsland town of Woodside, about 70 kilometres from Traralgon. Members of the public reported a vehicle almost submerged in floodwaters. The family of the father of four told Nine News “he was the kind of guy who would lend a hand and expected nothing back”.

The body of Ms Barake was discovered in flood waters following a public plea for information after she failed to arrive at work on Wednesday.

Acting Premier James Merlino urged residents in flood-affected areas to pay attention to any warnings.

“It was quite extraordinary leaving home and driving through the Dandenongs this morning. Just massive trees across homes across the roads,” Mr Merlino said.

“If there is an evacuation warning, please get out.”

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