Volunteers cleaning up the streets of Venice (photo courtesy Venice Calls)

After floods that kept Venice underwater in November, recovery efforts are underway to restore the city and help residents return to normalcy. The floods in November were the second worst recorded in history, which revitalized calls for better protection for the city and its artistic and cultural treasures. St. Mark’s Basilica, which sits in one of the lowest points in the city, suffered “grave damage” according to the BBC

The devastating floods that ravaged the city last month brought back memories of the last great flood back in 1966 when the waters rose to over 6 feet above their normal levels. In the wake of that catastrophe 53 years ago, an American organization, Save Venice, coalesced around the efforts to aid the city’s 120 islands. Melissa Conn, who runs Save Venice’s local office, told Bloomberg that there were concerns over the latest flood’s potential long term effects on the structural supports of the city and the damage done to delicate stone and marble works. Meanwhile, local volunteer organization Venice Calls has mobilized to clean up the lagoon city’s streets and organized conservation efforts.

Bloomberg has a breakdown of what donations to Save Venice will pay for, from $500 to pay a professional conservator for a day to $1.1 million to restore and preserve one of the oldest basilicas in Venice, Santa Maria Assunta in Torcello. The items range from portable flood gates to badly needed restoration projects for buildings damaged like the Ca’ d’Oro whose red marble floors have changed color after spending 16 days underwater. 

Between now and February 2020, Save Venice has pledged to match every donation to the Immediate Response Fund up to $100,000.

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