A 71-year-old man was found dead in floodwaters in his backyard in Rochester, Australia, on Saturday, as heavy rains continue to cause severe flooding in the country’s southeast.
This week’s floods have forced thousands to evacuate in the southeastern Australian states of Victoria, New South Wales and Tasmania.
Victoria, Australia’s second most populous state, has been the hardest hit so far, according to officials.
Emergency flood warnings remain in place as thousands are evacuated across the state, including in the state capital Melbourne. Flooding has also increased in New South Wales and the island state of Tasmania, with more evacuation orders overnight.
Saturday’s death brings to two the death toll from flooding across southeastern Australia this past week. On October 11, the body of a 46-year-old man was found in a submerged vehicle near Bathurst, New South Wales.
Victoria Police said the exact circumstances surrounding the recent death of the 71-year-old are unclear.
Tim Wiebusch, Victoria State Emergency Services operations manager, warned that floods could reach up to 12 meters in some towns and that more evacuation orders would be issued in the coming days. Wiebusch added that hundreds had to be rescued.
“Now it’s time to leave,” he said.
Wild weather has hit Australia. Historic rainfall brought on by La Niña conditions has caused rivers to rise beyond their banks and leave thousands homeless.
Speaking on Saturday, Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews said flooding was inundating homes and isolating communities.
“Those numbers will almost certainly grow as we see peak flooding in many communities,” Andrews said.