Italy to Declare State of Emergency over Venice Flooding
By Jude Chukwuemeka
Italy is set to declare a state of emergency in Venice after the Italian city was engulfed by 1.87m (6ft) high water levels, flooding its historic basilica and cutting power to homes, reports BBC.
More than 80% of the city, a Unesco world heritage site, was under water when tides were at their highest. Italy's Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte described the flooding as "a blow to the heart of our country", adding that government would act quickly to provide funds and resources.
Conte remarks on the pain of seeing the city so damaged, its artistic heritage compromised, and its commercial activities on its knees.
There will be need for government to "accelerate" the building of structural defences for the lagoon city, Conte said. He is expected to announce the emergency measures later on today.
The mayor of Venice, Luigi Brugnaro, blamed climate change for the highest water levels in more than 50 years this week, saying the impact was "huge" and would leave "a permanent mark". Eye witness account said that St Mark's Square - one of the lowest parts of the city - was one of the worst hit areas.
Mr Brugnaro warned that the damage will run into hundreds of millions of euros. The damage also affects businesses. Small business owners and vendors in the city were appealing to tourists to come back, since many of them had left the city after the water levels rose.
Venice is made up of more than 100 islands inside a lagoon off the north-east coast of Italy. It suffers flooding on a yearly basis. However, only once since official records began in 1923, however, has the tide been higher than it reached this week.