Venice homeless struggling, basilica damaged by record floods

Two people have died and the crypt of St Mark’s Basilica, is underwater after serious flooding hit Venice, Wednesday.

Used to high tides, local authorities in the lagoon city have called a state emergency.

More than 85% of Venice was flooded as the high watermark reached over 6 feet.

Wednesday’s water levels were the highest in more than 50 years and are the second-highest level since records began in 1923, and there have been only six floods of similar severity.

In October 2018, floodwaters damaged part of the mosaic floor of the Madonna Nicopeia chapel.

Once the water level subsided, Venice Patriarch, Francesco Moraglia and mayor Luigi Brugnaro inspected the damage to St Mark’s.

Moraglia expressed concern for those who sleep on the city’s streets and appealed to Venice parishes to be the first to open their doors to these people.

“To my Venetians, so much closeness, I have asked Caritas to be active in all possible ways, and I also make available emergency funds for charity,” Moraglia said, according to ACI Stampa.

“Venice is on its knees,” tweeted Brugnaro.

According to Brugnaru, the flood levels represent a wound that will leave indelible marks.

“We are here with Patriarch Moraglia to show our support, but we need everyone’s help to overcome these days that are putting us to the test,” he said.

Brugnaro puts the damage in the hundreds of millions, says the floods are the result of climate change.

He is appealing to the Italian Government for assistance.

Italy’s minister of culture, Dario Franceschini, confirmed the government will provide funding to help preserve the UNESCO world heritage site.

As yet, the amount of funding remains unspecified.

Venice sits on thousands of wooden piles driven into the mud, but rising sea levels and heavy cruise ship traffic have steadily eaten away at the surrounding marshes and mudbanks, causing the city to gradually sink.

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