Damage bill from deadly storms and floods in Victoria tops $182m

The damage bill from deadly storms that swept across Victoria, bringing devastating floods and enormous “tree carnage”, has topped $182m.

Ferocious winds and massive downpours hit Victoria last month, uprooting trees onto houses, bringing down powerlines and inundating properties with floodwater in Gippsland.

Homeowners in the worst hit areas of the Dandenong Ranges, Trentham and the Macedon Ranges spent about two weeks without power due to extensive damage caused to the electricity network.

At least 129 homes were deemed uninhabitable from the severe storms, about 135 others were habitable but suffered significant damage, while about 300,000 homes and buildings lost power at the height of the weather event.

Another 300 buildings were inundated by floodwater in Gippsland, and two people lost their lives after becoming trapped in their cars.

The Insurance Council of Australia has revealed initial estimates of the damage bill from the storms and flooding on June 9 and 10 has reached $182m from at least 20,000 claims.

The council declared the event a catastrophe on June 13, which served to escalate and prioritise the insurance industry’s response for affected policy holders.

Last week the state government announced an $8.2m package for 10 local councils across the Dandenong Ranges, central west Victoria and Gippsland to help bolster recovery efforts.

Acting Emergency Services Minister Jaclyn Symes said the council support fund would ensure councils had the recovery staff and expertise needed on the ground to help them stand up dedicated local teams to co-ordinate and drive recovery efforts.

More than 1000 emergency services personnel, including the Australian Defence Force, have been working around the clock on the recovery effort.

More than 556 payments worth $634,000 have already been made to people under the government’s Personal Hardship Assistance Program.

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