Weather ‘A complete mess’: Scores of property owners waiting for help after wild storm

‘A complete mess’: Scores of property owners waiting for help after wild storm

Kelly van den Berg says she's not expecting the SES to make it to her property anytime soon. Photo: ABC
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Kelly van den Berg’s view of the valley near her home in Budgeree, near Morwell in Gippsland, used to be partly obscured by a crop of beautiful big gum trees, but not anymore.

“Now I’ve got a more beautiful view over the valley because the trees are gone,” she said.

The storm, which wreaked havoc across Victoria on Wednesday night, snapped most of the trees in half, and scattered the pieces over Kelly’s property and nearby roads.

She’s now one of thousands of property owners across the state in need of help to clean up the mess.

The State Emergency Service said it would be several days before it would be able to clear a backlog of more than 5000 calls.

Counting the cost after a ‘hectic’ night

After sheltering in her living room with her cats and dogs during Wednesday night’s storm, Kelly ventured outside on Thursday morning to survey the damage.

“I’ve actually never seen anything like it, and it sounded like a hurricane last night.”

A twisted and shattered gum tree lies on top of her chicken coop.

A fallen tree has all but destroyed the chicken coop at Kelly’s property. Photo: ABC

Another has shattered the roof of her greenhouse.

“I’ve completely lost one shed. I don’t even know where it is, it’s just disappeared. It’s gone, it’s just gone.”

Kelly grew up in the area and said she had never experienced a storm like the one that devastated her property on Wednesday night.

“It was just hectic, my power went off before that, too, so I was just sitting in the dark, and there were just periods in the night where I could hear the tiles popping off my roof and the windows sounded like they were going to burst in,” she said.

“The whole house was shaking, I though the place was going to go up.”

Kelly knew it was not going to be a fun night when water started pouring through the light fittings in her ceiling and began running down the walls.

She was worried about her horses, outside in the freezing rain, but they all turned up safe and sound.

Expecting a long wait for help

A fallen tree crashed through the roof of Kelly van den Berg’s greenhouse. Photo: ABC

Kelly spent most of Thursday morning trying to get in touch with the SES, but with local roads cut off she was not expecting help anytime soon.

“My neighbours have lost their shed and had significant damage to their property, as well, and they also can’t get the SES, there’s no access,” she said.

“SES are just inundated, and the roads up here are really bad on a normal windy day, but this isn’t a normal windy day.

“There are trees all over the road and, yeah, it’s a complete mess.”

Kelly said her insurance company was now trying to source emergency help to fix her roof.

Once that was sorted, she would try and find her shed.