18 Jan 2011

Another nervous night for Victoria residents

10:33 pm on 18 January 2011

Thousands of people in the Australian state of Victoria are spending another night watching rivers and creeks spill over their banks and into their communities.

At least 50 towns have been affected and further flood peaks are predicted across the state on Wednesday.

In Horsham in the west, the waters are receding on Tuesday, but not before cutting the town in two.

The State Emergency Service (SES) said it cannot identify how many homes have so far been flooded, but believes up to 100 could be inundated.

In another western town, Warracknabeal, hundreds of people are laying sandbags, as the Yarriambiack Creek spills across roads.

The SES said there has never been a flood as big as this in the town, so authorities do not know where the water will go.

The Loddon River peaked on Tuesday afternoon (local time) and will isolate the town of Kerang in the northern part of the state until the weekend.

Roads leading into Kerang are expected to be cut by Wednesday afternoon and emergency crews are laying sandbags to protect the town's power supply.

Victorian Premier Ted Baillieu has warned the flood crisis will continue for at least another week as floodwaters move towards the Murray River.

Boy first to die in Victoria

A young boy has become the first person to die in flooding in Victoria.

Lachlyn Collins was playing with his brother and sister when he fell from a pontoon and disappeared under the water at Shepparton in the state's north-east on Monday.

The eight-year-old's body was found on Tuesday morning close to where he fell in. Police say he had limited swimming abilities and the death will be referred to the Coroner.

Lockyer Valley residents allowed home

In Queensland, residents of parts of the hard-hit Lockyer Valley are returning home on Tuesday for the first time since devastating floods last week.

Grantham has been in lockdown since a wall of water hit the town on 10 January and there are some parts that are still being searched for missing people.

Some residents whose homes have been cleared will be allowed back into the community, police say.

The death toll in the state has risen to 20 on Tuesday.

Premier Anna Bligh has announced a commission of inquiry into the disaster.