Thousands of Melbourne households without power after a devastating storm left “tree debris that would fill the MCG” throughout the Dandenongs will be able to claim a new hardship payment of up to $1680 a week.

Acting Victorian Premier James Merlino said current disaster relief payments did not cover the storm damage and electricity losses from last week’s storms so the state government, in partnership with the federal government, would offer residents the weekly payment.

Yarra Valley Water bring in drinking water tanks and bottles for Kallista residents on Wednesday.Credit:Eddie Jim

“We need to take swift action and the best way to take swift action is declaring this energy emergency. This means that remediation works in terms of dealing with the risks of flooding can happen as soon as possible.”

Victoria’s emergency management centre has warned Melburnians against rushing to areas battered by floods and storms once travel restrictions are lifted.

Unstable and severely damaged trees are hampering electricity workers’ access to power infrastructure as they try to restore connections for thousands of households and businesses after storms left widespread destruction in the Dandenongs.

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