Venice floods, the worst in half a century leave those on forgotten islands abandoned

al sahawat times venice floods 2019

Venice Floods – The worst floods for more than 50 years leave local Italian residents abandoned

Inondazioni di Venezia

At 187 cm Venice is currently under water by the deepest water since the record 1966 194cm floods.

Flooding in the iconic city is becoming more frequent and more severe with rising water levels and sinking land mass the “floating city” is slowly but surly being washed away to the Adriatic-Mediterranean.

Whilst the public eye in Italy and over seas has very much been on Venice’s historic flooding of the city’s most treasured and iconic locations, such as St Mark’s Square. Local residents who live no the many small islands out of the tourist paths are angry that they feel abandoned and forgotten by the rescue efforts.

The city experienced a third exceptionally high tide in less than a week on Sunday, which came after the worst tide in more than half a century just five days earlier (187 cm).

The 187cm flood water was deep enough to cover the heads of most tall men around the world and obliterate homes and businesses. To put things in perspective for you the average height of an adult male in Italy is 175 cm. In the US the average height of adult males is 177 cm and globally just 171 cm. Even in the world’s tallest region, the Balkans where the average height of Bosnians is a whopping 186cm, they would still be completely under water.

Average Heights around the world: (cm) (adult males)

Male: Bosnia (186), Netherlands (183), Serbia (181), Sweden (180), USA (177), Greece (177), UK (175), Italy (175), Spain (175), Kenya (173), Turkey (172), Global Average (171), China (171), Japan (171), Colombia (171), Global Average (171), Saudia Arabia (169), Brazil (169), South Africa (169), Mexico (167), India (165), Nigeria (164), Philippines (163)

But all this focus on protecting famous landmarks has left the people living on the smaller “off the beaten track” islands such as Pellestrina, one of the worst-affected islands in the Venetian lagoon, feeling forgotten, abandoned and desperate.

Many of the island’s 5’000 plus residents say the tourism industry of Venice has taken priority over them.

Vincenzo Vianello, 90, has spent all his life on Pellestrina. On Tuesday, he said he felt he was reliving the nightmare of a record-breaking flood in 1966 that completely submerged the entire island.

“We lost the fridge and kitchen that time and the same has happened again this time, everything in the house was flooded, we had to throw out everything again.” he said.

Mario Scarpa, another Pellestrina resident, broke his foot while trying to save his kitchen and appliances when the high tide broke through his walls and into the house.

“It was really scary because it all happened in the middle of the night,” he said.

“Suddenly a big wave burst into the house and all the electricity went off. I couldn’t see anything and in a few minutes I found myself on the floor.”

Mario’s son, Jacopo Scarpa, is angry. Pointing at the broken water pumps that should keep the island safe, he said: “They need to stop taking the piss out of us, we are pissed off.  The water pumps are not working and the maintenance is not good. We feel completely abandoned as we always end up cleaning and managing everything by ourselves.”

They say their needs remain in second place behind the tourist industry of Venice and its famous architecture, and they are asking whether protecting the city’s history should take priority over the lives of the local residents.

Since you’re here …

… we have a small favour to ask. More people are reading Al-Sahawat Times than ever but advertising revenues across the global media industry are falling fast. And unlike many news organisations, we haven’t put up a total paywall. We want to keep our journalism as open as we can. So you can see why we need to ask for your help. Al-Sahawat Times’ independent, investigative journalism takes a lot of time, money and hard work to produce. But we do it because we believe truly ethical media and an unbias perspective really matters.

“I appreciate there not being a paywall: it is more democratic for the media to be available for all and not a commodity to be purchased by a few. I’m happy to make a contribution so others with less means still have access to information.”

If everyone who reads our reporting, who likes it, helps fund it, the future of ethical media and the futures of our staff and their families would be much more secure. For as little as £1, you can support Al-Sahawat Times and it only takes a minute. Thank you.

This story is available on:


Talk to a journalist



Follow Al-Sahawat Times

⬆️ Follow on Instagram

⬆️ Follow on Twitter

⬆️ Follow on LinkedIn

⬆️ Follow on Facebook

⬆️ Follow on YouTube

Read it on APPLE NEWS

Read it on FLIPBOARD

Views: 3

About the Author