Venice floods: Italy to declare state of emergency over damage

Thursday - 14/11/2019 14:13
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Italy has declared 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.

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".

He said the government would now act quickly to provide funds and resources.

"It hurts to see the city so damaged, its artistic heritage compromised, its commercial activities on its knees," Mr Conte, who visited the region late on Wednesday, wrote in a Facebook post (in Italian).

A view inside the flooded St Mark's Basilica in Venice during an exceptional high tide, 13 November 2019
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He said the government would "accelerate" the building of structural defences for the lagoon city, referring specifically to the so-called Mose project - a hydraulic barrier system to shut off the lagoon in the event of rising sea levels and winter storms.

The prime minister said he was declaring emergency measures on Thursday, adding that individuals could claim up to €5,000 (£4,300; $5,500), and businesses up to €20,000, in compensation.

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 Keywords: Italy

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