"Acqua alta" in Venice: after the disaster, the city is preparing for new floods



ANGOISSE – After an unprecedented high tide for half a century, the lagoon city was almost completely flooded. The state of natural disaster has been declared, and new episodes of "acqua alta" – less intense – are expected.

Barely recovered from the exceptional flood that hit her Tuesday, Venice is already preparing to face new ones. The government declared Thursday a state of emergency for natural disasters after the "acqua alta – high tide – which reached 1.87 meters, a record since November 1966 (1.94 m). from the center of Venice, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, are waiting for a new episode that could reach 1.45 meters on Friday around 11:20, according to the Tidal Monitoring Center.

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Financial aid for the victims

The authorities estimate the damage to "several hundred million euros", and many museums and schools remained closed this Thursday, while the "acqua alta" of the morning was rather moderate, stopping at 1 , 13 meters in height. Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, on the scene since yesterday, oversaw a crisis meeting at the prefecture and announced that the Council of Ministers would take "a decree on the state of emergency" in order to "adopt the first financial aid "to" restore public services ". This procedure, regularly used, endows the government with "exceptional powers and means".

The decree will release "immediately" funds to "5,000 euros for individuals and 20,000 euros for businesses," said Conte. On November 26, a special committee on Venice will be convened to "discuss the general management of the problems concerning Venice and in particular its infrastructures". He will tackle some thorny issues: the historic center bypass for cruise ships and the mega-project Moïse dikes supposed to protect the lagoon.

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Against the risks of engulfment, a project "Moses" challenged

While the Serenissima, built on 118 islands and islets and built on piles, sank 30 cm into the Adriatic Sea in a century, it may eventually be swallowed. For the Minister of the Environment, Sergio Costa, the situation is aggravated by global warming, which is reflected in the Mediterranean by a "tropicalization" of the weather with intense rainfall and strong gusts of wind.

Several officials, including the mayor of Venice Luigi Brugnaro, have called to put into operation "as soon as possible" the project Moses, or MOSE in Italian, acronym for Experimental Module Electromechanical. It consists of the installation of 78 floating dikes that should rise to close the lagoon in case of rise of the Adriatic up to three meters high. According to the Prime Minister, Moses is "93% ready" and will be "presumably completed by the spring of 2021". But environmentalists consider too expensive and inefficient this book whose construction, started in 2003, took 5 years late for a cost multiplied by three, from two billion to six billion euros.

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