Published: Thu, November 01, 2018
Worldwide | By Sean Reid

Venice on 'code red' as city sees worst flooding since 2012

Venice on 'code red' as city sees worst flooding since 2012

Italy's canal-ringed city of Venice was swamped by flooding as heavy rainfall pushed the water levels to near record levels on Monday.

Two people were killed when a tree fell on their vehicle not far from Rome, and a young man in the Naples region also died after being hit by a falling tree, according to authorities. Nearly 6,000 firefighters worked to clear trees and debris from roads across the country as Prime Minister Guiseppe Conte mobilized the National Guard to assist. In Savona, an elderly woman died after a tornado lashed the northwestern province.

Venice was inundated by an exceptionally high tide on Monday, with three-quarters of the famed city under water as large areas of Italy experienced flooding and winds that toppled trees and other objects, killing six people.

Venice's central St Mark's Square was closed on Monday afternoon, after the water level reached "acqua alta" (high water) of 156cm (5.1ft).

Italy's famous century-old structures have also bore the brunt of the storm, and several landmarks have been left completely destroyed.

The high-water threat has been increasing in recent years as heavier rains have hit northern Italy, weather experts say.

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Venice Mayor Luigi Brugnaro said the city's underwater barriers, now still under construction, would have prevented the flooding had they been completed, reports ABC News.

The flood, the fourth highest in the city's history, has reportedly damaged mosaic floors and bronze columns inside St Mark's Basilica, where the water reached up to 35 inches.

"The exceptional wave of bad weather leaves us with a dramatic toll: nine dead, four serious injuries and one person missing, " said Interior Minister Matteo Salvini.

In southern Austria, authorities have deployed hundreds of mobile anti-flooding dams as rivers burst their banks, while in the city of Salzburg a roof section from the mediaeval ramparts flew off in high winds.

Schools and tourist sites have closed in several regions after fears for people's safety.

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