Acqua Alta – Italy declares state of emergency as Venice is brought to its knees
After 48 hours of high tide and high drama, residents and business owners in Venice have come up for air as they woke up to fine weather and water levels below the two metre record reached in the previous hours.
Despite it all, tourists wearing colourful boots were all smiles and enraptured by the landscape as they took photographs in St Mark’s Square which was submerged in over one metre of sea water.
While the Italian government has declared a state of emergency to secure funding for the completion of the buffer project intended to stop seawater causing further damage to the city, many tourists do not believe there is much that can be done.
“In my opinion I don’t think we can particularly save Venice. I think we should let the natural processes do its thing. If we were going to try to save Venice, perhaps building walls or retaining structures around the outside, of course that’s going to have other implications in different areas.”
”I think it will be a general problem for the future and it will happen again and again and again.”
Other tourists said that as a result of the sea they had to change plans and visit other cities nearby, and with many businesses closed, tourists had a harder time finding a place to eat.
”It was a bit difficult to find food yesterday night because we walked for more than one hour to find a shop open but finally we found it and we appreciate more our food now.”
“All the restaurants were closed and also the shops were closed so our day was spent finding food yesterday so yeah”
The Italian Prime Minister, Giuseppe Conte visited this city in the north of the country and described the situation as a major blow to the heart of Italy. He promised support for the completion of a major anti flood project called Moses which was mentioned for the first time after the 1966 flood, and which began 16 years ago and was meant to be completed eight years ago. However, the project ended up mired in several scandals of corruption and is now expected to be completed in two years.
The billion Euro project involves the placement of large structures in the outskirts of the city aimed at keeping sea water from encroaching into and defacing businesses, homes and historic sites as happened this week.
Climate change experts have warned that this system will still not cope with the phenomenon of higher levels of sea water.