Clean-up begins after Aussie tornado carnage

More than 20 homes and 100 caravans have been destroyed - and many more badly damaged - after a tornado ripped through towns along the Victorian/NSW border.

Residents were allowed through the Denison County Caravan Park at Mulwala for the first time on Saturday, two days after scores of caravans were torn to pieces by winds of up to 300kph.

"Some of them are destroyed to the point of being completely unrecognisable," said Bernard Kates, SES NSW regional controller for the Murray Region.

"This tornado has kind of scored a bulls eye right on top of this caravan park and it's made a real mess.

"There is a fair bit of shock, a fair bit of amazement, and one or two people who were here when the tornado struck are thinking how lucky they were to escape without injury."

Mr Kates said it was fortunate the caravan park was mostly empty when the tornado struck around 8pm (local time) on Thursday.

Crews were now working to clean the debris, including asbestos.

Across the border in Victoria, more than 20 homes have been declared uninhabitable as SES crews work around the clock to remove debris and fallen trees.

SES spokesman Toby Borella said 15 properties had been identified as uninhabitable at Koonoomoo, along with seven at Bundalong and two at Rutherglen, while many others had been classified as significantly damaged.

Caravans, roofs and trees were sent flying as the category F3 tornado, packing winds of between 250 and 300km/h, ripped through the Murray River towns of Bundalong, Yarrawonga, Mulwala, Rutherglen, Koonoomoo and Cobram.

Twenty people were injured, including two men who were flown to Melbourne hospitals in critical condition.

All patients were now in a stable condition, said a spokeswoman from The Alfred and Royal Melbourne Hospitals.

Premier Denis Napthine said short-term accommodation and financial assistance was already being provided to those in emergency situations.

He said he would travel to the affected regions on Sunday morning.

"It's very fortunate that no lives were lost," Dr Napthine told reporters on Saturday.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard described the tornado as a "truly startling event and said federal disaster assistance had been activated for the devastated towns.

"People would have seen that 20 sustained injuries; there have been homes damaged, destroyed, trashed. Vehicles have been overturned," Ms Gillard told reporters in northern NSW.

"Our communities in Victoria ... are facing a very difficult day and our thoughts are with them and some practical assistance is available."

-AAP

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