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The severe thunderstorm on 5 January caused widespread damage in Hepburn Shire, particularly in and around Creswick and Clunes. A coordinated response from emergency agencies, including Council, allowed teams to quickly provide support to the community and lead the clean-up required following heavy rainfall and flash flooding.

The immediate response involved assisting people to leave damaged homes and the establishment of a Relief Centre in Creswick, while crews focused on clearing roads, removing fallen trees from powerlines and hazards, along with pulling debris out of Creswick Creek.

Mayor, Cr Tim Drylie, said the severe thunderstorm impacted many community members in the Shire.

“The thunderstorm was incredibly damaging, with some residents reporting up to 160mm of rain in two hours, and significant amounts of hail,” said Cr Drylie.

“Our thoughts are with everyone impacted by the storm and subsequent flash flooding,” he said.

“This is a very stressful time and if anyone needs support I strongly urge you to get in touch with our Storm Recovery Officer on 5348 2306, who can provide advice on available social support, financial assistance, counselling, and more.”

Cr Drylie recognised the considerable efforts of helpers who were quick to respond, especially given many people were on leave enjoying the new year.

“Thank you to all agencies, volunteers and staff who assisted with the clean-up and response work. So many people put their hand up to help and we are incredibly grateful of the speed at which this was carried out and the professionalism of everyone involved,” said Cr Drylie.

Along with Council, response groups included Victorian State Emergency Services, Country Fire Authority, Victoria Police, DELWP, Ambulance Victoria, Salvation Army, Powercor and Parks Victoria.

As part of the emergency response Council established a Relief Centre at the Doug Lindsay Recreation Reserve in Creswick, and helped to source temporary accommodation for families whose homes were inundated.

Council has now transitioned this to a Recovery Centre, where impacted community members can drop in to receive advice on how to access ongoing support.

The Recovery Centre will operate from 9am to 5pm on Friday 7 January and 9am to 12noon on Saturday 8 January. Next week a Storm Recovery Officer will be located at the Creswick Hub at 68 Albert Street during office hours. Council’s Economic Development Officer will also be available to provide support for impacted businesses. For storm recovery advice phone Council on 5348 2306.

Council is also offering residents in and around Creswick and Clunes the opportunity to drop off storm-related green and general waste for free at the Creswick Transfer Station until Monday 17 January.

Cr Drylie said Council undertook a flood and drainage study for Creswick following the floods in 2010.

“This study was very comprehensive, and we have implemented all the study recommendations, including construction of a levee bank which is designed for one in 50 year floods,” he said.

“We will continue to investigate what contributed to the flood and what more can be done to reduce the risk of flooding in Creswick, particularly in lower lying areas of the town.

“This will also include seeking support from other levels of government to assist any future works.”

 

UPDATE –SECONDARY IMPACT ASSESSMENTS 

Over the next week Council staff will be out and about doing secondary impact assessments on private residences impacted by the recent storm. Teams will be going door-to-door throughout flood-impacted areas and will meet with residents to understand any assistance required and to assess damage to property. If your property was impacted by the storm but you haven’t received a visit by mid-week, or would like to let us know about someone who we should visit, please call our Storm Recovery Team on 5348 2306 during business hours to request a visit.

Image: Supplied by Cmdr Wayne Rigg FRV.