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From inside the towers: ‘Bitter shock’ as residents go without food and essentials

A resident in one of Melbourne’s ring-fenced public housing towers says he and his neighbours still haven’t received essentials, almost two days into the hard lockdown of the buildings.

Mohamed Yusef, who lives in the North Melbourne towers, told Neil Mitchell he has run out of nappies for his two young children and the Department of Health and Human Services has told him to wait for supplies.

“I’ve asked them ‘Can I have nappies, please?’ and they’ve said ‘Can you wait 24 hours?’,” he said.

“That was a bitter shock to me.

“I’ve got two under three years old … and I don’t know what to do.”

Mr Yusef said very little food has made its way into the towers, and what has been received has come from community groups, not the government.

“It is absolutely not getting in so far, we’ve been locked down now for close to two days and the only help we got was the local Sikh community brought in some hot food last night, and the mosque also was handing out some donated food from the local communities in the area,” he said.

“Last night there was food placed on our doors, four sausage rolls. I went outside now and the four sausage rolls are on the floor outside every room because people don’t even know … they are there.

“Daniel Andrews said in his press conference that the support will be there: the mental support, the health support, the essential needs will be provided. It’s close to two days now and we don’t have anything from the government!”

Mr Yusef praised the conduct of police, but said more help is needed and he would welcome support from the ADF.

“My message to the government is: please double the effort in getting through the essential services. The police presence is really good … honestly they’re doing a really good job,” he said.

“From my point of view, I reckon the army will do a really good job.

“We need nurses, we need doctors, we need people that can get us hot food.”

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Tower lockdown: ‘Stretched’ police want ADF help


Image: Asanka Ratnayake