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Flooded Venice Hit by New 5th Tidal Surge

Flooded Venice has been hit by a new high tide of 154cm (5ft), giving residents no respite from a crisis costing Italy millions of euros.

Tourist magnet St Mark’s Square has been forced to close and schools are shut for a third consecutive day. The canal city’s famous waterbuses – the vaporetti – are not running.

The 187cm peak on Tuesday was the highest level in more than 50 years, damaging monuments, shops and homes. More than 80% of the city was flooded.

A state of emergency was declared earlier in the week in the city, which is an UNESCO World Heritage site.

St Mark’s Basilica – dating back to the 11th Century – was hit by the flood

Residents with flood-damaged homes will get up to €5,000 (£4,300; $5,500), and businesses up to €20,000 in compensation.

Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, who visited Venice on Wednesday, said: “It hurts to see the city so damaged, its artistic heritage compromised, its commercial activities on its knees.”

Although the population is relatively small with around 50,000 residents, it has about 20 million visitors annually.

Hotels were forced to cancel reservations, some reportedly as far ahead as December, as photos of Venice underwater spread across the world.

Wellington boots are now essential footwear in Venice

The tides have been worsened by sirocco winds blowing from Africa, and there are fears that global warming is increasing the frequency and severity of such floods.

Waters are expected to recede over the weekend.

The government says  Venice’s elaborate flood defence system  will not be operational until 2021 – yet work began on it back in 2003.

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