A council room in Venice became swamped with water just minutes after officials there rejected measures to combat climate change.
The historic Italian city has been suffering as floods take over the city, with water levels reaching as high as 6ft (1.87m) yesterday, November 13.
The flooding is the worst in over 50 years and shocking pictures shared on social media show visitors and residents struggling through the deep waters in search of shelter.
The sun has left Venice and so we go back to Lucca after lunch. This was during high tide pic.twitter.com/b4rRbEgFlW
— Beth Smith (@ehgsmith) November 11, 2019
As a result of the treacherous conditions, the Veneto regional council – located on Venice’s Grand Canal – was flooded for the first time in its history on Tuesday, November 12.
In a lengthy Facebook post, Democratic Party councillor Andrea Zanoni described how the council chamber in Ferro Fini Palace started to take in water around 10pm local time, when councillors were debating the 2020 regional budget.
He shared pictures of the waterlogged room, showing chair and table legs submerged beneath the murky liquid, and described the water as ‘flowing like a stream’ through a number of different rooms.
Zanoni, who is deputy chairman of the environment committee, described the situation as ‘ironic’ as he revealed the flooding started ‘two minutes after the majority League, Brothers of Italy, and Forza Italia parties rejected… amendments to tackle climate change’.
The recommended amendments included measures to fund renewable sources and to replace diesel buses with ‘more efficient and less polluting ones’, as well as reducing the impact of plastics.
Zanoni went on to accuse Veneto regional president Luca Zaia, who is a member of the far-right League Party, of presenting a budget ‘with no concrete actions to combat climate change.’
The regional council’s spokesperson, Alessandro Ovizach, confirmed the council was flooded after discussing amendments to the 2020 budget, though they did not specify which ones, CNN reports.
However, the council’s president, the League’s Roberto Ciambetti, rejected Zanoni’s accusations, saying:
Beyond propaganda and deceptive reading, we are voting [for] a regional budget that spent €965 million over the past three years in the fight against air pollution, smog, which is a determining factor in climate change.
To say that we do nothing is a lie. We are a region that after the 2010 flood launched a plan to safeguard hydrogeological safety for a total cost of €2.6 billion, an exorbitant amount for regional finances.
The regional council meetings were moved to Treviso as a result of the flooding.
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Emily Brown first began delivering important news stories aged just 13, when she launched her career with a paper round. She graduated with a BA Hons in English Language in the Media from Lancaster University, and went on to become a freelance writer and blogger. Emily contributed to The Sunday Times Travel Magazine and Student Problems before becoming a journalist at UNILAD, where she works on breaking news as well as longer form features.