Italy suffers severe weather conditions as anger rises in flood-damaged Venice

Italy suffers severe weather conditions as anger rises in flood-damaged Venice
By John Paul Ging
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The queen of the Adriatic is drowning. Climate change has been cited but what about corruption?


Severe weather conditions are continuing to cause disruption across parts of Italy.

An avalanche damaged several houses in Val Martello in northern Bolzano, also blocking several roads in the area. Swollen canals broke their banks and flooded fields near Modena.

Heavy rains are expected to continue throughout the week, especially in the north of the country.

Venice is still experiencing serious problems after three of the highest tides in recorded history all happening in a week, flooding the historic Italian city.

But there's an extra element to the story in Venice. Many locals believe that corruption has contributed to the scale of the disaster, delaying the construction of a flood barrier that should have been in place years ago.

Over 30 people were arrested in 2014 after an investigation into the misuse of public funds for the MOSE (Modulo Sperimentale Elettromeccanico, Experimental Electromechanical Module) Project.

Gian Antonio Stella from the Il Corriere newspaper says the project was riven with corruption:

“We are talking about a company that would give away what we might describe as gifts, smaller ones and sometimes bigger gifts, to all the people they had access to. If you pay everyone off, nobody can interfere with what you do”

It emerged that €40 million worth of state funds were used by the company in charge of the project's construction to buy the favour of influential officials. Prosecutors have claimed it would have provided a regular income for the role they had.

Stella claims this system even influenced the selection of building materials:

“Given the fact that they would spend so much money on the project, you would expect them to choose the best steel in the world. How could the best steel be manufactured just a few kilometres away from home?

“Experts in the field who would say that certain materials weren’t right, or that a specific type of steel would quickly become rusty, would be isolated and then kicked out of the project”

Raffaele Cantone, the then-head of the Anti-Corruption National Authority described it as a cultural problem that spoke of problems in attitudes and ethics in the country.

READ MORE about the MOSE project and how corruption dogged the project

Journalist • Giorgia Orlandi

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