Venice (AP) - Venice is struggling with the consequences of the devastating flood. The Italian civil defense warned of new storms with strong winds in the Veneto region. However, the water level should not reach the record level as in the night to Wednesday.
The Ministry of Culture today wants to examine the St. Mark's Basilica for damages. Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte announced during a visit to the lagoon city that the government will declare a state of emergency for the UNESCO World Heritage city. The fight was again fierce for the scandal-torn flood protection project.
The water level, driven by heavy winds during the night to Wednesday, rose to 187 cm above sea level - this is the highest level since a devastating flood in 1966. For Thursday 130 cm were expected. Scientists are also attributing the increasing tides in Venice to climate change, which is causing sea levels to rise.
St. Mark's Square and the cathedral were flooded, as were hotels, shops and residential buildings. Ships went down, walls were destroyed. A human died.
Minister of Culture Dario Franceschini spoke of an "emergency". Cultural monuments have been affected by salty and dirty water. Works of art in collections or material in archives and libraries were however according to first findings not damaged.
Schools and kindergartens should also be closed on Thursday, the shipping traffic was extremely limited. The opera La Fenice canceled performances. The Art Biennale, on the other hand, said it would open again after the site was closed on Wednesday and the artworks were checked for damage.
While tourists were taking selfies of the waters, the residents were shocked. "I have not seen anything like that yet. It's a disaster. It's like a war. We knew it », said the Venetian Ezio Toffolutti of the German Press Agency. Shops and supermarkets are all on the ground floor, they got it bad. Dangerous are the electrical wires. "A terrible time."
He criticized the billions of flood protection system "Moses", which is to protect the city with extendable barriers against flood. The project is "stupid". "Everyone who knows the lagoon knows that the lagoon can not get me concrete." Many Venetians accuse politicians of selling the city to tourism and cruise companies and not really caring about the protection.
Mayor Luigi Brugnaro urges to complete the scandal-prone flood protection project. He believes that catastrophes such as the current flood with "Moses" can be avoided. However, the construction, which is said to have swallowed around six billion euros, has been delayed for years due to corruption scandals and criticism from environmentalists. Media call the project "the great unfinished".
Prime Minister Conte now said that the construction was "92 to 93 percent" ready. "Venice is a cultural heritage of Italy and humanity. It is necessary that a series of historical problems be solved. »
Unesco on Climate Change in Venice, Italian
Communication commune, Italian
Forecasts flood, Italian
Mayor on Twitter with video, Italian