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In Venice, St. Mark's Square was under water Wednesday, November 11, 2019, while other episodes are expected in the coming days. REUTERS / Manuel Silvestri

Venice plunges into the nightmare of high tide with a level of 187 cm in the night of Tuesday, November 12. The city is under water, but if the peak is over, the situation could continue in the next few days. The state of natural disaster must be decreed this Thursday.

Torrential rains, a sirocco wind blowing at 100 km / h, the delays accumulated in the implementation of the Moїse project , launched in 2003 to protect Venice from acqua alta ( high tide in Italian), thanks to a system of floating dikes , which is far from over ... All these factors plunge Venice into the nightmare of November 4, 1966, when the high tide had reached 194 cm, the highest level ever recorded.

On the night of Tuesday 12 to Wednesday 13 November, high tide reached 187 cm. But other episodes, more violent, are planned for the coming days by the Tidal Center of Venice including a level of 140 cm scheduled for Friday, November 15. Rome promises to adopt an emergency plan to support the Venetians.

80% of the affected city

The mayor of Venice Luigi Brugnaro, who has asked for state recognition of natural disaster describes a dramatic situation. The tide of Tuesday night combined with squalls and rain has overwhelmed virtually the entire city, 80% according to the governor of the region Luca Zaia.

In fact, the water has infiltrated all the lower parts of the City of the Doges. Especially in St. Mark's Basilica, this masterpiece of Byzantine art that symbolizes the history of Venice.

Pier Paolo Campostrini, procurator of St. Mark describes the situation to our correspondent in Italy, Anne Le Nir : " the pavement of the basilica is overgrown with water, just like part of the crypt, covered with 60 cm of salt water . But when the water evaporates, the salt accumulates and crystallizes, which ravages the marbles and stones . New high tides are expected.

Floods related to climate change

The phenomenon is linked to climate change according to the head of civil protection Angelo Borreli: " The effects of climate change are considerable. Since the beginning of the year, we have recorded 174 events that have caused deaths, injuries and so much damage .

Rome promises an emergency plan for the Venetians, but they also claim that the Moise project is coming to an end. This system of floating dykes to save Venice was to be completed in 2016, but it is still not in place. According to Premier Conte, he is " 93 % ready " and will " likely be finished by the spring of 2021 ".

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