Schools, cemeteries closed as southern Italy braces for storms

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FILED - 07 February 2020, Italy, Venice: A boat sails down Venice's the Grand Canal. Storms and strong winds have prompted Italian authorities to activate the city's so-called Mose flood defence system, according to a tweet from Mayor Luigi Brugnaro. Photo: Annette Reuther/dpa
FILED - 07 February 2020, Italy, Venice: A boat sails down Venice's the Grand Canal. Storms and strong winds have prompted Italian authorities to activate the city's so-called Mose flood defence system, according to a tweet from Mayor Luigi Brugnaro. Photo: Annette Reuther/dpa

Due to approaching storms, schools and cemeteries across southern Italy were closed as a precautionary measure on Wednesday.

The mayor of Naples, Gaetano Manfredi, decided to close the majority of cemeteries and parks due to the risk of falling branches, according to the order issued by the municipality.

Schools on the popular holiday island of Ischia in the Gulf of Naples will remain closed on Wednesday, according to Mayor Enzo Ferrandino.

The civil protection authority issued an increased warning level for the southern Italian region of Campania. Meteorologists expected heavy rain showers and storms.

In the northern lagoon city of Venice, authorities were warning of another flood late on Wednesday. Almost 60 per cent of pedestrian paths are expected to be underwater.

From 6 pm (1700 GMT), the city plans to open its flood protection system.

The Mose flood protection system – which derives its name from the Italian for Moses – is intended to protect Venice from storm surges. It consists of 78 barriers that the city can raise at three entrances and has been in operation since 2020.

The billion-dollar project is controversial: corruption, bureaucratic red tape, as well as political and economic self-interest delayed its construction for a long time.

Experts say it is possible that the system will have to be active year-round from 2075 if climate change – and thus rising sea levels – does not slow down decisively.

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