It is the worst flood in more than 50 years, now the Italian government in Venice has declared a state of emergency. The Cabinet has approved the state of emergency, said Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte on Thursday evening on Twitter. 20 million euros should be provided "for the most urgent measures", he added. Large parts of the lagoon city were still under water on Thursday.
The flood called "Acqua Alta" had risen to a level of 1.87 meters during the night of Wednesday. St. Mark's Square and the crypt of St. Mark's Cathedral were under water. Only once since records began had the water been higher: in 1966 the level was 1.94 meters. The flood caused by rain, wind and the tides did not increase further on Thursday, on Friday it should be at 1.45 meters.
Schools and museums in Venice remained closed on Thursday. Conte attended a crisis meeting in the city and visited shopkeepers whose businesses were devastated by the dirty salt water. What else am I supposed to do? "Said 54-year-old Stefano Gabbanato, who reopened his newspaper kiosk at the Doge's Palace until the next flood - and currently sells rubber boots. The flood disaster was "a stab in the heart of our country," Conte said.
On St. Mark's Square tourists waded unwaveringly through the puddles and made selfies with the floods in the background. "It's funny, tourists take pictures while the city suffers," said Austrian tourist Cornelia Litschauer. The Hong Kong Jay Wong reported that his trip to Venice had become "an adventure" and a "great experience" due to the flood.
Video: A tourist attraction, a problem for the residents
Manuel Silvestri / REUTERS
Mayor estimates the damage to several hundred million euros
After the terrible flood on Tuesday evening, locals and tourists in rubber boots were wading through flooded streets. Many moorings for the famous tourist gondolas were torn away. A 78-year-old man was electrocuted when water penetrated his house.
According to Luca Zaia, President of the Veneto Region, 80 percent of the city was under water. Mayor Luigi Brugnaro put the damage at several hundred million euros. Conte announced before the imposition of a state of emergency already compensation payments, which should be for residents at 5,000 euros and for business people at 20,000 euros.
Brugnaro blamed climate change for the disaster. "We need to be resilient and adapt, we need a policy that looks at the climate in a different light," said Environment Minister Sergio Costa.
Next week is also a special commission on the "problems of Venice" advise, as Conte announced. It is also said to go to a planned docking ban for large cruise ships and a controversial flood protection system, which is to protect the lagoon city with floating barriers.
11 picturesFlood in Venice: a state of emergency in the World Heritage city
The large-scale project Moses has been under construction since 2003, but is still not functional. Originally estimated at two billion euros, meanwhile, the construction has already devoured six billion euros. Conte said that the construction is now 93 percent complete and "probably" ready in the spring of 2021. Recently, engineers had discovered that parts of the construction were rusted.