Victoria floods: Residents of Kerang stock up on groceries and medicine as floodwaters set to seal off the town for a fortnight

The town of Kerang in northern Victoria state could be cut off from the rest of the state for up to two weeks from Monday evening as flood waters rise.

There is a two-hour wait at the local pharmacy as people queue to fill their medical prescriptions and the local community health center offers additional appointments while people stock up on supplies.

The Loddon River at the Murray Valley Road Bridge is expected to exceed major flood level of 77.8 meters overnight Monday into Tuesday, with levels peaking at around 78 meters overnight Tuesday into Wednesday, similar to levels reached during the January 2011 floods.

And with so much water already in the river system, this flood is likely to last much longer.

“In 2011 the water sat there for quite a long time, this time it could be worse because there is so much in the Murray River that the water coming down the Loddon is not going to drain away as quickly,” said local SES incident controller Les dit Vering.

“We’re pretty confident there won’t be too many flooded houses, it’s isolation. If people want to go somewhere next week, they’ll be stuck there.

“Don’t wait until it’s too late to leave because you could easily get stuck.

“If it looks like it’s going to go over the levees, messages will be sent and emergency services will monitor the situation and activate the community to sandbag if necessary.”

Flood levels are expected to reach the same level as during the 2011 floods, pictured.(AAP: Pamela Blackman)

The SES and other emergency services have strongly encouraged residents, especially those with mobility or health issues, to evacuate north towards Swan Hill.

Gannawarra Shire Mayor Charlie Gillingham said residents would be getting plenty of warnings ahead of the closure of the Patchell Bridge in Kerang.

“The message from the council is to prepare for the worst and hope for the best,” he said.

“Those who are elderly, vulnerable or in need of medical assistance should prepare to leave now. If they have to evacuate, they should stay with family and friends.”

man in the main street of Kerang
Mr Gillingham says cattle should be moved to higher ground.(ABC News: Kellie Hollingworth)

An emergency rescue center was set up at Kerang Memorial Hall and farmers were told to move livestock to higher ground.

“We don’t want to see huge inventory losses like we’ve had in the past,” Mr Gillingham said.

Victoria Police said those leaving could register their absence by telephoning 131 444 and agents would watch their property.

Those who intended to stay at home should ensure they were prepared for a long period of isolation.

A Woolworth spokesperson said the company would try to keep the local store open for as long as possible depending on the number of remaining employees and overall stock supply.

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