A 71-year-old man was found dead in floodwaters in the backyard of his home in Rochester, Australia, on Saturday, as heavy rains continue to bring major flooding to the southeast of the country.
Flash floods this week have caused thousands to evacuate in Australia’s southeastern states of Victoria, New South Wales and Tasmania.
Victoria, Australia’s second most populous state, has been the worst hit so far, according to officials.
Emergency flood warnings remain in place as thousands across the state evacuate, including in the state capital Melbourne. Flooding has also intensified in New South Wales and the island state of Tasmania, with more evacuation orders overnight.
Saturday’s death brings the number of people killed in flooding across Australia’s southeast this past week to two. On October 11, the body of a 46-year-old man was discovered in a submerged vehicle near Bathurst in New South Wales.
Victoria Police said the exact circumstances surrounding the latest death, of the 71-year-old, remain unclear.
Tim Wiebusch, chief operations officers for the Victoria State Emergency Services, warned that flooding in some towns could reach heights of up to 12 meters and that more evacuation orders would be issued over the coming days. Hundreds have had to be rescued, Wiebusch added.
“Now is the time to leave,” he said.
Wild weather swings have battered Australia. The historic rainfall, brought about by La Niña conditions, has caused rivers to swell beyond their banks and left thousands homeless.
Speaking on Saturday, Victoria Premier Daniel Andrews said floodwaters were inundating houses and isolating communities.
“Almost certainly those numbers will grow as we see flooding peak in a number of communities,” Andrews said.