The online community has jumped behind Victoria’s State Emergency Service after a frantic flooded resident accused them of not helping.
Evacuation orders are in place for some areas of the state, and dozens of Melbourne suburbs have been warned to prepare for flooding.
But in the late hours of Thursday night, one flooded resident took to the online message board Reddit, as water inundated their home, to take aim at the SES.
“My house is about to flood, and SES won’t do anything to help,” the Reddit user wrote in a post which was later taken down.
“I know SES has to prioritise lives, but we have a treatment plant, and the tanks are about to get flooded.
“We’ll have no water, plus the water is about to reach high enough on the bricks to start flooding the house.
“We were hoping SES could bring us sandbags, but they are too busy to help.”
Photos attached to the post showed the resident’s house and yard becoming inundated by floodwaters.
But the comments were taken as a jab against the volunteers, with plenty on the forum defending the emergency workers.
“The SES are volunteers trying to help those with priority situations. To say they won’t do anything to help isn’t correct; they are trying their best,” one person responded.
An SES volunteer also responded to the post.
“There are orders of magnitudes more properties to protect than there are volunteers,” they wrote.
“In a widespread event like this, they can’t help everyone.
“I don’t think we are at risk of losing lives; it’s more trying to prevent the house from flooding. We would definitely leave if we felt our lives were in danger.”
Another volunteer said the SES amassed hundreds of jobs in the space of hours during major events.
“The call-takers are run off their feet and collect just enough to classify the job – where is it? What is it? Is anyone in life-threatening danger? They log on and move on. This repeats across thousands of calls. Our unit got hit with 700 in a few hours,” they wrote.
“Just remember that our SES is all volunteers and they are all out there in this weather trying their hardest for their community,” another added.
“There really isn’t anything the SES can do for you right now. I know it’ll be a hard lesson, but next time there are major storms warnings, you’ll have your sandbags ready to go,” another said.
Vic Emergency told residents in parts of Maribyrnong to evacuate immediately on Friday morning, with suburbs along the river also advised to move to higher ground.
They warned them of “flooding above floor level” in single-story homes in “many locations”.
Forty-two suburbs, including Essendon, Ascot Vale, Keilor, Footscray and Sunshine, have been advised to prepare for potential flooding as the Maribyrnong River in the city’s northwest continues to rise.
Across the state, a total of 91 flood-related warnings have been issued for Victorians. They range in severity from a Flood Watch for areas near inundated catchments to immediate evacuation notices.
As of 7.30am Friday, Victoria State Emergency Service had responded to more than 2660 requests for assistance, with staff aiding in evacuating residents and clearing roads.