Speed Reads


State of emergency declared in Venice due to flooding

The Italian government declared a state of emergency in Venice on Thursday, following days of flooding caused by high tides and a storm surge driven by strong winds.

At least two people have died due to the flooding, which is the worst to hit Venice in more than five decades. Flood levels reached 6 feet, 2 inches on Tuesday, and 3 feet, 8 inches on Thursday. The flooding has caused extensive damage to buildings, stores, and infrastructure, with the crypt at St. Mark's Basilica, built more than 1,000 years ago, filled with water and a third of Venice's raised walkways destroyed. "It hurts to see the city so damaged, its artistic heritage compromised, its commercial activities on its knees," Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said on Wednesday.

Conte said the government will step up efforts to build a hydraulic barrier system that can be activated during winter storms and when sea levels rise. More flooding is expected in the next few days.