The Italian lagoon city of Venice is facing a flood disaster of obvious historical proportions. "We are dealing with apocalyptic destruction," said Veneto Region President Luca Zaia. After continuous rain and strong wind, the water rose at night as high as it did 53 years ago.
One man died trying to get the drainage pump started again in his flooded house, news agency Ansa reported. Another inhabitant was found dead in his house, the cause of death is unclear. Mayor Luigi Brugnaro spoke of a disaster and announced to declare a state of emergency.
The situation is chaotic in large parts of the city: the wind threw water buses to the shore and sank some, at least 60 ships were damaged. Gondolas and boats were ripped from moorings and drifted through canals. Hotels were flooded, according to media reports also flooded parts of the opera house "La Fenice".
10 picturesFlood in Venice: a state of emergency in the World Heritage city
Water also flooded the St. Mark's Basilica, including the crypt, up to 1.10 meters high it should have risen. On Tuesday, onlookers were still puffing through the waist-high water on the world-famous course. But then it became too dangerous, now patrol police there - in boats.
Mayor Brugnaro was angry - and expressed concern: The city would soon be no longer able to cope with the flood. "Venice has been brought to its knees, St. Mark's Cathedral has suffered severe damage, as has the whole city and the islands," he said. He blames the climate crisis for the disaster.
Video: The extent of the disaster
At just before midnight, the water had risen to 187 centimeters above normal sea level. This was the highest value since the devastating flood in 1966, the community said. At that time 194 centimeters had been reached.
Scientists have long warned of the consequences of global warming for the World Heritage city on the Adriatic: the more the sea level rises, the higher the risk of flooding. Also, the floor is sinking in Venice, where a large part of the buildings stands on stilts. Ebb and flood and wave movements by ships endanger the buildings. Critics also blame the dredging of fairways for large ships for slumping.
more on the subject
"We will lose Venice, that is not controversial," said Anders Levermann of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research a year ago. The question is only when: "It can take centuries." The development is slow, but unstoppable. Although there are customization options, they would have to be very large (read more here).
Venice is repeatedly hit by flooding, but the situation is increasingly aggravated. Currently there are electronic barriers in the lagoon that can be deployed at high tide. However, the project called "Moses" has been delayed due, among other things, to a corruption scandal.