The results of the tornado which ravaged north-east Victoria are emerging, with countless homes damaged and hidden debris in the surrounding waters posing a safety risk to swimmers and boat users.
Most of the damage occurred in the towns of Yarrawonga, Bundalong, Mulwala, Koonoomoo and Cobram, where at least 25 people were injured.
The SES is warning all recreational boat users and swimmers to be cautious when using the Lower Ovens River, the Murray River or Lake Mulwala.
State Emergency Service spokesman Toby Borella said floating and submerged debris can pose a risk to navigation and swimmer safety, and particularly cautioned people who use high speed recreational boats such as ski boats and personal water craft to be careful.
Mr Borella said the service had received over 1000 requests for help on Thursday, and an additional 158 requests since.
He identified Bundalong as so far the worst affected, with 33 properties sustaining considerable damage, and an additonal seven deemed not fit to live in.
Koonoomoo and Rutherglen were also severely damaged, with 17 houses between the two towns considered totally wrecked.
Premier Denis Napthine said the impact of the tornadoes had been “absolutely devastating”.
He said he would travel to Yarrawonga on Sunday to meet residents and “make sure that those who have been affected are properly looked after.”
In conjunction with the federal government, the state is providing emergency financial assistance for those affected.
But Dr Napthine has not ruled out offering further support, if necessary.
“We’ll be having discussions with those people affected, and with local councils, to see what further assistance may be required,” he said on Saturday.
“It’s very fortunate that no lives were lost. When you see pictures of the damage, it was significant damage, it was an absolutely devastating tornado.
“Our hearts go out to those who have been affected, particularly those who have lost their principal residents and those who have had massive damage to their homes.”
Source: The Age, Australia