Venice was on red alert for more floods and fierce winds on Saturday after an exceptionally high tide swamped the city of canals, and declared a state of emergency.

Mayor Luigi Brugnaro ordered the iconic St Mark’s Square closed on Friday as the latest sea surge struck with strong storms and winds battering the region. It reached a high of 1.54 meters — lower than Tuesday’s peak but still dangerous. “I’m forced to close the square to avoid health risks for citizens… a disaster,”.
But civil protection authorities issued a weather “red alert” for the Venice region on Saturday, warning of violent winds. Churches, shops and homes in the UNESCO city have been inundated by unusually intense “acqua alta”, or high water.
The crisis has prompted the government to release 20 million euros ($22 million) in funds to tackle the devastation. More than 50 churches had suffered damage.
Residents whose houses have been hit are eligible for up to 5,000 euros in immediate government aid, while restaurant and shop owners can receive up to 20,000 euros and apply for more later.
Mayor Brugnaro on Friday also announced the opening of a fund where people¬†in Italy and around the world could contribute to the historic city’s repair.
Hotels reported canceled reservations, some as far ahead as December, following the widespread diffusion of images of Venice underwater. Tuesday’s high waters submerged around 90 percent of the city, officials said.

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