With water, the citizens in Venice know the location of the lagoon city. But the masses of the past days bring them to their limits. The place reports a record flood. Mayor Luigi Brugnaro spoke of a "disaster" and mobilized all forces on late Tuesday evening.
On Wednesday, the state of emergency is proclaimed, announced Brugnaro in a video on Facebook. He blamed climate change for the increasingly frequent floods. "We call on the government to help us, the costs will be high."
Shortly before midnight, the water – driven by strong wind – rose to 187 cm above sea level. This was the highest value since the devastating flood in 1966, when 194 cm were reached, the commune said. Also 190 cm seem possible according to the authorities. Thereafter, the water should sink slightly again.
Marco Bertorello / AFP
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St. Mark's Square in the UNESCO World Heritage city was completely flooded. Tourists and locals first waded in rubber boots across the square, in the evening only the police drove with boats. Also in the St. Mark's Cathedral, the water penetrated. Among other things, it caused damage to the masonry, reported Italian media. "We try to contain the damage," said the engineer of the basilica, Pierpaolo Campostrini, the news agency Ansa.
Day care centers remain closed, schools as well
Because of the exceptionally high water levels in the lagoon city day care centers and elementary schools were closed, communicated the municipality. On Wednesday there is hardly any weather improvement in sight, all over Italy, as has been the case for days, rain is announced.
Due to its location in the lagoon, Venice is repeatedly plagued by floods, but the situation is becoming increasingly severe. The city wants to install a flood protection system for a long time, because the rise of the sea level leads to more and more flooding.