Flooded Venice battles with new tidal surge – BBC news,

Flooded Venice battles with new tidal surge – BBC news,


                                 Flood in St Mark's Square, 14 Nov 19Image copyright                 Reuters                                                      
Image caption                                    Walkways were removed from St Mark’s Square, which is now closed                             

Flooded Venice has been hit by a new high tide of 160 cm (5.3ft), giving residents no respite from a crisis costing millions of euros .

World-famous St Mark’s Square, a magnet for tourists, has been closed, and schools are shut for a third day.

The Italian city’s famous waterbuses – the vaporetti – have stopped running.

The 187 cm peak on Tuesday was the highest level for more than 50 years, damaging cultural monuments, businesses and homes. More than 80% of the canal city was flooded.

The government declared a state of emergency in the Unesco world heritage site.

Residents with flood-damaged homes will get up to € 5, 000 (£ 4, 300; $ 5, 500), and businesses up to € 20, 000 in compensation.

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Desperate measures as water seeps everywhere

The BBC’s Jenny Hill in Venice writes:

The first flood sirens went off at dawn, an eerie sound rising over the ancient bridges and waterways of the city.

Within a couple of hours, the murky green water of the Grand Canal had risen level with its bank, slapping over the paving stones as boats went past.

Nearby streets quickly flooded. Tourists, shoes covered in plastic bags, carried their luggage along raised narrow trestle walkways, which the authorities have put up to keep the pedestrian traffic moving.

On either side, dirty water continued to rise. At ground level, in their rubber wellies, business owners were already starting to operate small pumps. Many had raised the flood barriers across their doorways – apparently to little effect. Water was already seeping up to ankle height in the souvenir shops and cafes.

                                 Grand Canal, 15 Nov 19 (pic by Jenny Hill)                         
Image caption                                    The Grand Canal’s water is now level with the pavement                             
                                 Presentational grey line                     

“It hurts to see the city so damaged, its artistic heritage compromised,its commercial activities on its knees, “Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, who visited Venice on Wednesday, wrote in a *** post (in Italian).

Fondamenta Zattere – a long, much-loved waterfront area where tourists enjoy strolling – is also under water.

                                 Venice flood - aerial view                     
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The city is made up of more than 100 islands inside a lagoon off the north-east coast of Italy. It suffers flooding on a yearly basis.

The government has pledged to release € 20 m in aid for Venice.

Only once since official records began in 1923 has the tide been higher than it reached this week – hitting 194 cm in 1966

The mayor of Venice, Luigi Brugnaro, blamed climate changefor the flood, saying the impact was “huge” and would leave “a permanent mark”. Strong winds lashing the area are contributing to the crisis.

Mr Conte said the government would accelerate the building of structural defences for the city, referring specifically to the so-called Mose project – a hydraulic barrier system to shut off the lagoon in the event of rising sea levels and winter storms.

                                 Flooded bookshop in central VeniceImage copyright                 Reuters                                                      
Image caption                                    A flooded bookshop: Workers are trying to dry out damp prints                             
                                 Venice high tides graphic - showing historical records                     
                                 Presentational white space                     
                                 A view inside the flooded St Mark's Basilica in Venice during an exceptional high tide, 13 November 2019Image copyright                 Getty Images                                                      
Image caption                                    St Mark’s Basilica – dating back to the 11 th Century – was hit by the flood                             
                                 Tourist in Venice flood, 15 Nov 19Image copyright                 EPA                                                      
Image caption                                    Wellington boots are now essential footwear in Venice                             
                                 Flood and woman in shop, 15 Nov 19Image copyright                 Reuters                                                      
Image caption                                    Shops appear marooned by the floodwaters                             

All images are subject to copyright.


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