Australia bushfires: Fears grow as 17 missing, one confirmed dead in East Gippsland

Fears are growing for 17 people missing in East Gippsland as bushfires continue to rage across Australia. 

With one confirmed dead and 24 Victorian communities isolated by bushfires while New South Wales (NSW) also suffers from dozens of blazes, there's still a hard road ahead for Australians. 

"I'm very sad to have to report that there are at least 17 people at this stage that we can't account for, whose whereabouts are unknown to us, plus there is one person confirmed as deceased," Premier of Victoria, Daniel Andrews, told media on Thursday.

The deceased has been identified as Mick Roberts, who died in his home. 

Roberts was a great-uncle and was known as a"hero" by the Buchan community.

Andrews is unsure of the communities the missing people come from.

"It may be some of those people are safe, but we hold very significant fears for the welfare of anybody who is missing at this time."

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison also addressed the public on Thursday with an update on the unfolding tragedy.

"We have seen far too many lost and as the Premier in Victoria has just indicated, many still unaccounted for in a lot of these small communities in East Gippsland and it will be some time before we're able to know where they are and if they're still lost."

Mallacoota is a town caught between both a relief effort and an active firefight.

Currently, the military is attempting to help the thousands of bushfire victims trapped on Mallacoota Beach from where it's been too dangerous to evacuate. They have delivered two Navy ships filled with supplies and the Army and Air Force are assisting in firefighting and relief operations.

In other areas, emergency level fires in Victoria's east have now been downgraded to 'watch and act' status. But around 47 fires across the state are still posing a threat.

Ten people have now been killed by the bushfires across New South Wales (NSW) and Victoria since Christmas.