Venice, devastated by the floods for a week, has again suffered a high tide Sunday, but of lesser magnitude, and warnings were also issued for the cities of Florence and Pisa, because of the unrelenting rains that fall on the island. 'Italy. The "acqua alta", or high tide, rose to 1.50m Sunday, far behind the peak of 1.87 m Tuesday that hit the "Serenissima", flooded since, and whose images have made the world Tour.
"The water has stopped rising"
"The water has stopped rising," tweeted the mayor of Venice Luigi Brugnaro. "150 cm high … The Venetians are on their knees only when they pray. Venice will leave again, "he also wrote.
The acqua ha finito di crescere. Picco at 150cm in Punta della Salute. I #veneti e #veneziani sound in ginocchio solo wheno pregano. #Venezia if sta dando da fare per ripartire. pic.twitter.com/C5i0ORbdOB
– Luigi Brugnaro (@LuigiBrugnaro) November 17, 2019
The weather forecasts predict tides not exceeding 110 cm for the coming days, which should allow the lake city to assess the damage, already estimated by the mayor to more than a billion euros .
The iconic Saint Mark's Square was reopened at the end of the day on Sunday.
Pisa and Florence on alert
Further south, in Tuscany, two other Italian jewels, Florence and Pisa, have been placed on alert because of the threat of water. The President of the Tuscany Region, Enrico Rossi tweeted a warning about the risk of overflowing Arno River and said that pontoons had been installed on the banks in Pisa "as a precaution".
Piena dell'Arno: Esercito al lavoro for the procedura di sicurezza https://t.co/oAvQtqLKBG pic.twitter.com/kao2PIruCq
– PisaToday (@PisaToday) November 17, 2019
The Italian army has tweeted photos of soldiers consolidating the banks of the Arno, which also crosses Florence, and whose waters have dangerously mounted in the night from Saturday to Sunday. The Italian civil protection advised the inhabitants not to approach the banks of the river.
– Tg La7 (@ TgLa7) November 17, 2019
The city museum was devastated in 1966 by deadly floods, which had left a hundred dead and destroyed priceless masterpieces of the Renaissance.
The firefighters on their side tweeted a video of one of their boats going to the rescue of people trapped by the waters in the province of Grossetano, in the south of Tuscany.
#Maltempo #Toscana # 17 November 9:30, maggiori criticità: nel grossetano per allagamenti, at Orbetello scoperchiati tetti di abitazioni da forte vento, evacuate 20 persone; in provincia di #Arezzo una frana coinvolge the ingresso di un'abitazione, in salvo the famiglia all'interno pic.twitter.com/BUx9AItED0
– Vigili del Fuoco (@emergenzavvf) November 17, 2019
Damage assessment in Venice
Since Tuesday in Venice, more than 50 churches have been damaged, including St. Mark's Basilica, shops and mansions flooded. Hotels are also beginning to regret cancellations for the end of year celebrations. Venice, with 50,000 inhabitants, receives 36 million tourists a year, 90% of whom are foreigners.
The mayor of Venice announced Friday the opening of a bank account for all those who, in Italy and abroad, wish to contribute to the repairs. "Venice, a unique place, is everyone's legacy. With your help, Venice will shine again, "he wrote in a statement.
Residents whose homes have been damaged can apply for immediate government assistance of 5,000 euros, and traders can receive up to 20,000 euros.
Thursday evening, the government of Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte had approved the establishment of the state of emergency in Venice and announced the release of 20 million euros "for the most urgent interventions".
Venice threatened with engulfment
Venice, built on 118 islands and islets mostly artificial and on stilts, is threatened with engulfment. It has sunk 30 centimeters into the Adriatic Sea in a century. For Environment Minister Sergio Costa, the fragility of Venice has increased due to the "tropicalisation" of the weather, with intense rainfall and strong gusts of wind, linked to global warming. Ecologists also point to the expansion of the large industrial port of Marghera, located opposite Venice, and the parade of giant cruise ships.
Many officials, including the mayor, called for the "MOSE dike project" (Moses in Italian, acronym for Experimental Electromechanical Module) to be commissioned "as soon as possible". Launched in 2003 and delayed by poor workmanship and corruption investigations, MOSE relies on 78 floating dykes that stand up and block access to the lagoon in case of rising waters of the Adriatic, up to three meters from height. Recent tests have identified vibrations and rust but, according to Conte, is "93% ready" and will be "completed in the spring of 2021".