An exceptionally dry winter in Europe is forcing the world-famous canals of Venice, Italy, to dry up, as shown in disturbing new photographs – a mounting climate issue rearing its head.
A winter heatwave, combined with a severe lack of rain and snow, has led major rivers in Europe to drop to startlingly low levels. The timing couldn’t be worse, given that the continent was already suffering from severe droughts last year.
Italy has been particularly heavily struck, with its longest river, the Po, carrying 61 percent less water than typical at this time of year. Venice is particularly impacted, with gondolas and other water taxis coming to a standstill owing to drying waterways.
The UNESCO World Heritage site, which dates back to the fifth century, has in many areas been reduced to a mud pit, to the shock of the city’s many visitors. Photos show long stretches of the city’s canals reduced to a puddle, exposing the mud and the adjacent buildings’ foundations.
The reduction in water level affects more than simply vacationers. According to Agence France-Presse, the city relies on water ambulances that go through the canals.
It’s a strange circumstance because Venice is generally coping with high, not low, water levels, especially between October and January, when important areas like the city’s main plaza are frequently half inundated.
According to experts, city authorities are now praying for much-needed rain — around 50 days of it — to reverse a disaster that has been accumulating since the winter of 2020.
Reference- Agence France-Presse, BBC, The Guardian, euronews, CNN
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