Flooding prompts Italy to declare state of emergency in Venice

ROME — Italy’s government is set to declare a state of emergency in flood-ravaged Venice, to swiftly secure the historic city funds to repair damage from the highest tide in 50 years.

Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte described the flooding as “a blow to the heart of our country.”

He said a cabinet meeting called for Thursday afternoon will declare a state of emergency and approve the first measures aimed at helping the city’s recovery.

Conte spent Wednesday night in Venice, where world-famous monuments, homes and businesses were hit hard by the exceptional flooding.

Venice’s mayor said the damage is estimated at “hundreds of millions of euros.”

The water reached 1.87 metres above sea level Tuesday, the second-highest level ever recorded in the city. On that day came reports that tourists and Venetians alike were donning high boots and taking to strategically placed raised walkways to slosh through the high water that had hit much of the lagoon city.

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