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Venice floods at the highest level in 50 years: Italy declares a state of emergency in Venice

Italy’s government declared a state of emergency on Thursday as water levels in Venice remain high. Officials have said, damage costs are estimated at hundreds of millions of euros.

Due to the bad weather with the tidal surge, two people were reported dead on the island of Pellestrina, and one of the deceased was electrocuted for starting a pump at his home. The flooding in Venice was caused due to a high spring tide and a meteorological storm surge driven by strong winds blowing north-eastwards across the Adriatic Sea

According to a statement by Venice’s government on Wednesday morning it has mentioned that the popular tourist spots in Venice were struck by an exceptionally high tide, which peaked at 187 centimetres 73.6 inches, Flood levels in the lagoon city reached the second-highest level. Though the water level dropped slightly on Wednesday morning, a further torrent of water, whipped up by high winds later in the day, reaching a level of 1.60 metres.

Even though the water had receded by the time, yet residents of Venice bracing themselves for more to come as forecasts predicted high tides of 1.20 metres late on Wednesday night and 1.30 metres on Thursday morning.

Authorities stated, more than 85% of Venice was flooded, including the most historic building of St Mark’s basilica.

The mayor of Venice, Luigi Brugnaro, at a press conference, said the flood levels would leave indelible marks for the country’s UNESCO sites. “We ask the government to help us, this is the result of climate change” and it would cost hundreds of millions of euros to fix the city, stating that the damage was “enormous.”

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte announced a national state of emergency on Thursday evening after floodwater levels in Venice reached the highest level in more than 50 years.

Italy’s minister of culture, Dario Franceschini, also stated the government would provide any amount of funding to preserve the UNESCO world heritage site of the country.

Prime Minister also tweeted that the Italian Cabinet approved €20 million (£15.532 Million) to help the city recover from the floods.

According to the weather forecast, more rain and strong winds are expected in the coming days. Last Tuesday, the Tide Forecasting and Reporting Center of Civil Protection said that 45% of the city was flooded and due to the weather conditions, the government announced that all schools will be closed on Wednesday. 

Not to mention Venice is also popular for souvenirs and vendors in the city were appealing to tourists, who had left the city after the water levels rose. Merchants of the city also requested the mayor to support them as their business relied on tourism, and valuable goods have been swept away by the high tide.

Emergency lines for immediate support:

Emergency line in Italy: 113

The emergency line at sea: 1530

If you’re not sure who to speak to, call 112. You’ll be connected to the Universal European Emergency Services, who can direct you to the correct line.

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