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Flooding in Venice

Samantha Rivera, Staff Writer

The Italian lagoon city of Venice was recently flooded, with around three-quarters of the city being covered with water. Venice usually floods because of its high winds that push the water from the lagoons into the cities. One of the highest recorded water levels was in Dec. 1979, which rose to about 160 centimeters. On Oct. 29th, the water level increased to about 156 centimeters.

 

Venice Mayor Luigi Brugnaro expressed that a series of underwater barriers would have prevented the flooding. However, because of the cost, the project was long overdue. Every four years the flood reaches to about 109 centimeters. Brugnaro decided to raise the underwater barriers. Prime minister Giuseppe Conte expressed that it is an “enormous tragedy being in your house and from one moment to the next, being submerged by the water.” He stated, “The government has already allocated to the environment industry one billion euros for the intervention for the hydrogeological safety.” The emergency caused the public transport companies to temporarily close, only remaining active on the outlying islands.

 

Since Venice is built on islands, the high waters are a regular issue that the residents have to face. In order to prevent the water from entering, metal or wooden doors are used to prevent entering through bottom floors. Some shop owners took measures to use water pumps in order to protect their wares. In Rome, many cars were damaged by falling trees and all the major attractions were had to be shut down.

 

Over the past nine centuries, this is only the fifth time that Saint Mark’s Square cathedral was damaged by flooding. Under about 89 centimeters of water, the water soaked the monumental bronze doors, columns, and marble. “It may not be visible to the eye, but structures age because of the salt water drenching the bricks, which were not meant to remain underwater for long; that goes for bronze, too,” stated Pierpaolo Campostrini, one of the board members.

 

Meteorologists believe that climate change is increasing the number of floods. Due to the lack of maintenance of the river beds, Italy’s high winds killed 29 people in four incidents in  Naples, Lazio, and Liguria. Among the victims were two children, one being three-years-old. Regional governor, Luca Zaia, believes that the flooding could potentially reach the water levels of the 1966 flood that hit both Venice and Florence.

Photo courtesy of NATIONALGEOGRAPHIC.COM

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Flooding in Venice