Flooding in Venice: billions for "Moses" and yet no protection

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The Italian government has already invested € 5 billion in flood protection in Venice. But the project called "Moses" so far only provides for dispute.

By Elisabeth Pongratz, ARD Studio Rome

One day after the catastrophic flooding in Venice, people are arguing about how the lagoon city can be better protected. The focus is on the "Moses" project. At three harbor access points, the barriers are anchored in the seabed. Depending on your needs, they can be extended to prevent flooding.

Fifteen years ago, work was begun that already devoured more than five billion euros. In itself, the flood protection should be ready in 2014, but it does not work yet.

The regional president of Veneto, Luca Zaia, expressed his anger. He did not really understand why the barriers are not yet operational: "It is my concern that you tell the whole world that 'Moses' is not our construction site, but a construction site of the state Work, we'll see if it works or not. "

Rome agrees to support

Dragging bureaucracy, corruption and a few other scandals are the reason that construction did not progress. The government in Rome hastened to pledge its full support for the project. In the evening, Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte had come to Venice to see for himself the devastating damage caused by the devastating floods. According to him, only the last 400 million missing, soon the protection would work.

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Flooding in Venice

A devastating flood has hit Venice. Whipped by strong wind and after continuous rain, the water rose as high as 53 years ago. | Image source: AFP

Hoteliers complain of serious damage

The project has been arguing for years. The skepticism is great. While some in the barriers see real protection for the lagoon city, others believe that it would exacerbate the problem. Meanwhile, Conte awarded first aid, up to five million euros for individuals, up to 20 for stores. Especially the hoteliers complain of heavy damages. Many tourists have canceled their trips.

For November 26, Conte announced a large-scale infrastructure solution committee. "That's what we all say to citizens, and this committee, set up by me, will create rules to tackle the infrastructure problems of Venice." The problem of the big ships is addressed, the problem of the Moses project, the problem of a stronger coordination between the competent authorities, so Conte.

Salt water – a big problem for the masonry

In Venice, there is still tension. Schools and kindergartens remained closed on Thursday, the shipping traffic was severely restricted. The opera "La Fenice" canceled performances, but the art biennale reopened. In many places people were involved in the assessment of the damage. In St. Mark's Cathedral, those in charge were able to bring many works of art to safety, but the crypt was completely submerged, Mario Pana says: "We dry everything and empty the crypt, there is still water, but the pumps are running, we are washing a bit of everything now . "

But the danger for the buildings was not banished, so Pana. The water disappears, but the real problem is that it is salt water. "It wets the walls, then the water evaporates slowly, but the salt stays."

Meanwhile, the Italian civil defense has warned of new storms with heavy rain for the Veneto region. However, the water level should not be as high as last.



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