Thursday, December 12, 2019 | ePaper

Inundated Venice braced for more flooding, strong winds

  • Print


Venice's mayor ordered St Mark's quared closed as the latest sea surge peaking at 1.54 metres (five feet) struck just before midday.

AFP, Venice :
Venice was on red alert for more floods and fierce winds on Saturday after an exceptionally high tide swamped the city of canals, where authorities have declared a state of emergency.
Mayor Luigi Brugnaro ordered the iconic St Mark's Square closed on Friday as the latest sea surge struck with strong storms and winds battering the region.
It reached a high of 1.54 metres (five feet) just before midday - lower than Tuesday's peak but still dangerous. "I'm forced to close the square to avoid health risks for citizens… a disaster," Brugnaro said. In the afternoon the square reopened as water levels receded.
But civil protection authorities issued a weather "red alert" for the Venice region on Saturday, warning of violent winds.
Churches, shops and homes in the UNESCO city have been inundated by unusually intense "acqua alta", or high water, which on Tuesday hit their highest level in half a century. "We've destroyed Venice, we're talking about one billion (euros) in damage and that's just from the other day, not today," Brugnaro said.
The crisis has prompted the government to release 20 million euros ($22 million) in funds to tackle the devastation.
"It's shocking to see this, having water up to your knees," Mexican tourist Oscar Calzada, 19, told AFP Friday.
Surveying the damage, Culture Minister Dario Franceschini warned the task of repairing the city would be huge. More than 50 churches had suffered damage, he said.
"Seeing these places first-hand gives the sense of a much greater disaster than TV images show," Franceschini said.
·Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte declared a state of emergency for the city on Thursday.
Residents whose houses have been hit are eligible for up to 5,000 euros in immediate government aid, while restaurant and shop owners can receive up to 20,000 euros and apply for more later.
Mayor Brugnaro on Friday also announced the opening of a fund where people in Italy and around the world could contribute to the historic city's repair.
One tourist, Italian Nicole Righetti, said she would be willing to pitch in.
"It would be a shame to no longer be able to see these places, and I think everyone should give," Righettii said.
Some Venetians, used to the inconvenience of their city's rising waters, nevertheless expressed frustration.
"All the stock in the basement is lost," lamented Luciano, a worker at a shop along St. Mark's Square.
He said he remembered well the infamous "acqua alta" of 1966, when the water rose to a level of 1.94 metres, the highest-ever since records began in 1923.
"These so frequent high waters have never happened before… this time there's so much more damage than in the past," he said.
Hotels reported cancelled reservations, some as far ahead as December, following the widespread diffusion of images of Venice underwater.
·    Climate change warning -

Tuesday's high waters submerged around 80 percent of the city, officials
said.
Many, including Venice's mayor, have blamed the disaster on global warming and warned that the country prone to natural disasters must wake up to the risks posed by ever more volatile seasons.
The Serenissima, as the floating city is called, is home to 50,000 residents but receives 36 million global visitors each year.
A massive infrastructure project called MOSE has been under way since 2003 to protect the city, but it has been plagued by cost overruns, corruption scandals and delays.

More News For this Category

Foreign interference in US elections 'unacceptable': Pompeo

Foreign interference in US elections 'unacceptable': Pompeo

AP, Washington :Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Tuesday that any foreign interference in American elections is "unacceptable" and warned Russia and others that the Trump administration will protect

China biggest jailer of journalists, as press dangers persist: Watchdog

AFP, Washington :At least 250 journalists are jailed around the world, with the largest number held in China, amid a growing crackdown by authoritarian regimes on independent media, a press

Johnson on track for 24-seat majority: Focaldata

Johnson on track for 24-seat majority: Focaldata

Reuters, London :Prime Minister Boris Johnson's Conservative Party is on track for a 24-seat majority after Thursday's general election, polling company Focaldata forecast on Tuesday, down sharply from its forecast

US army preparing biggest European deployment in 25 years

US army preparing biggest European deployment in 25 years

AFP, Washington:The US Army is planning its biggest deployment of troops to Europe in 25 years, with 20,000 troops slated to take part in a massive force projection exercise at

Climate change tops list of global worries for young people: AI

Madrid (Thomson Reuters Foundation) :Four out of 10 young people view climate change as one of the most important issues facing the world, an Amnesty International survey on the state

Activists hold placards as they attend a protest against climate change as the COP25 climate summit held in Madrid, Spain.

Activists hold placards as they attend a protest against climate change as the COP25 climate summit held in Madrid, Spain.

Nobel laureates call for accountability of Suu Kyi

Nobel laureates call for accountability of Suu Kyi

Anadolu News Agency  :Myanmar's state counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi and country's army commanders must be held criminally accountable for crimes committed against Rohingya Muslims, seven Nobel peace laureates said

A Black Swan for Nobel Peace Laureate Aung San Suu Kyi

The Irrawaddy  :Myanmar's de facto leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi-once internationally feted as a human rights champion-arrived with her delegation in The Hague, Netherlands on Sunday. This time, her

Australia braces for bushfires as strong winds create ‘severe’ conditions

Australia braces for bushfires as strong winds create ‘severe’ conditions

AFP, GosfordAustralians braced for deadly bushfires to spread and intensify Tuesday, as strong winds and high temperatures created "severe" fire conditions.With Sydney and several other cities again cloaked in thick

News In Brief

6 killed after gun rampage at Czech hospitalAFP, OstravaA gunman opened fire Tuesday in a hospital in the eastern Czech city of Ostrava, killing six people, police said. "There are