Hopes Melbourne's water contamination problem will be resolved later today

29 August 2020

A warning about potentially unsafe water remains in place for almost 100 suburbs across Melbourne, after a fatal storm struck Melbourne and south-eastern Victoria late on Thursday night.

Hundreds of homes are still without power and officials have warned it could take a few days for power to be restored in some areas.

The storm claimed the lives of three people yesterday, including four-year-old Ayan Kapoor, who was killed by a falling tree.

The boy was walking with his father and younger sister near their home at Blackburn South, in Melbourne’s east, when he was suddenly hit.

The boy’s aunt said the family had not been outside for very long when the tragedy happened.

A boy poses for a family photo.
Ayan Kapoor, 4, was killed by a falling tree outside his Blackburn South home.(Supplied: Nine News)

“His father was just trying to get him out, but he was not breathing at all,” she told Channel Nine.

“He’s such a jolly boy, he’s calling me everyday.”

Two other people, a 59-year-old Tecoma man and a 36-year-old woman from Parkdale, died after trees fell on their cars.

Yarra Valley Water and South East Water advised thousands of households to boil water before drinking it, brushing their teeth and making baby formula over contamination fears.

Tree fallen on white carTree fallen on white car
Falling trees crushed cars and sheds.(ABC News: Peter Drought)

Mikala Hehir, of South East Water, said they hoped to have the issue resolved by the end of the day.

“If you want to drink the water, please boil it first, take it to a rolling boil, and then let it cool, be careful not to scald yourself and that water should be fine,” she said.

Two women wearing face masks walk on a road in front of large fallen trees.Two women wearing face masks walk on a road in front of large fallen trees.
Two women in Belgrave inspect the damage from the storm.(ABC News: Simon Tucci)

“Or if you can’t boil your water please go to one of the water tankers where we can give you water.”

Power was restored to more than 100,000 homes yesterday but about 14,000 customers are still without power today.

Three trees uprooted and fallen over a path in The Basin. Three trees uprooted and fallen over a path in The Basin.
The strong winds brought down thousands of trees including these in The Basin in Melbourne’s east.(Supplied: Aiden Magnik)

AusNet services spokesman Steve Brown warned it could be a few days for some areas.

“There is still a lot of damage out there though so we’ll be doing our best to get as many people back as possible,” he said.

“But it was a very severe weather event, so for some people it could be some days but we’re going to try and get as many people on as possible.”

A large dam with small green hills behind it on a sunny, blue sky day.A large dam with small green hills behind it on a sunny, blue sky day.
Electrical damage led to undisinfected water from Silvan Dam entering the water supply.(ABC News: Simon Tucci)

The storms caused electrical damage at Silvan Dam, to Melbourne’s east, which saw undisinfected water enter the water supply.

Social media was flooded with photos of crumpled cars and crushed roofs.

Strong winds of up to 124 kilometres per hour felled huge trees, leaving them strewn across roads.

A dark red shed crushed by a tree during the day.A dark red shed crushed by a tree during the day.
The SES received thousands of calls in a matter of minutes.(Supplied: Deanne Jarvis)

The storm saw a flurry of some 3,000 calls to the State Emergency Service — 2,000 of them within 15 minutes.

The disaster saw the Department of Health and Human Services update their advice about stay-at-home orders for those affected by the damage.

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