Between one exceptional tide and another, a casual visitor to Venice this week might not even notice the damage that water is doing to lives and livelihoods and property and morale. Because as always, Venetians have mobilised to keep things running, as far as is possible with burnt-out electrical appliances, and ruined goods and belongings drenched with sea water.
Acqua alta happens every year, true, but this week’s record highs have left Venetians feeling more helpless, more wounded, more furious and more frustrated than ever. Flood defences are a long-running saga with no end in sight; Mammon takes precedence over the safeguarding of the lagoon’s delicate ecological balance. The fabric and the soul of this extraordinary, unique city are being shaken to their core. Can we really not find a solution?
You can read more of my thoughts about acqua alta in Venice here.
There are (short-term) ways to help.
The city council has set up a bank account for donations: Comune di Venezia-Emergenza acqua alta. Mark donations as ‘contribution for tide emergency’ IBAN: IT 24 T 03069 02117 100000 018767 BIC: BCITITMM
To help Venetians whose businesses have suffered, add goods from Venetian artisans and shops to your Christmas buying list. There are lots of #VeniceGiftGuide posts on Twitter, thanks to @DreamOfVenice
El Felze is an organisation grouping artisans who make gondolas and gondola parts. Their workshops tend to be at water level, which means that they suffered hugely in the exceptional high water. To help them get back on their feet, you can donate to Associazione El Felze IBAN IT90 P 05034 02070 000000100273 SWIFT BAPPIT21709 marking your payment “donazione per sostegno artigiani”.
There has been severe damage to the Carlo Scarpa-designed ground floor of the splendid Galleria Querini Stampalia. You can donate to the restoration fund here – IBAN: IT 76 O 010 0502 0000 0000 0032 500 (mark donation ‘Acqua Alta 12 novembre 2019) or donate through Paypal via their website.
Duri i Banchi/Love, together with Venessia, is collecting funds for Venetian families hit hard by the high water of the past few days. 100% of money donated will be distributed. You can donate through the Duri i Banchi website.
Venice’s Ca’ Foscari university has also set up an emergency fund: you can find it here.
Manuscripts in the library of Venice’s (music) Conservatorio suffered serious water damage. They’re looking for expert restorers to help them salvage as much as possible.
The Giudecca studio of artist Claudia Corò was devastated by acqua alta. You can help her out here.
Many Venetian bookshops have been trying to selling flood-damaged books at reduced prices to move stock. The Siae (Italian publishers’ association) has set up a fund to help the stores get back on their feet.
Please message me about other initiatives/organisations which I can flag up.