A stunning historic shipwreck from WWII has surfaced along a massive river for the first time after one of the longest droughts in Italian history occurs as summer begins. The ship was found in a nature reserve in Gualtieri, a small town located on the banks of Po in Emilia-Romagna.
This is all started and due to the drought that allowed the river to dry up in March. The lack of rain in Italy this dry season has also been breaking historic records. Italy went an unprecedent amount of days without rain.
Meuccio Berselli, Secretary-General of the Po River Basin Authority, said: “We are in a situation where the river flow is approximately 300 cubic meters (80,000 gallons) per second here in (the riverside village of) Boretto, while normally in this area we have almost 1800 cubic meters (476,000 gallons).”
The drought exposed a very unique one-hundred and sixty foot-long Zibello barge researchers date it to have been active and running in 1943 when it sunk. The boat would have been used for transporting wood, supplies, and other goods during the conflict before it sank in the Po River.
The four-hundred and five-mile long river runs from the Cottian Alps to wind up meeting the Adriatic Sea. The worst drought in over seventy-years has caused the water levels to be the lowest the river has ever seen. The decades-old sunken ship has slowly been surfacing over many months.
AP reports that Northern Italy hasn’t seen rain in more than over a hundred and ten days. Alessio Bonin took photos of the wreckage with his drone. He told reporters from The Guardian it was a startling sight.
“In recent years you could see the bow of the boat, so we knew it was there, but to see the vessel so exposed in March, when it was essentially still winter, was very dramatic,” Bonin said. “I’ve never seen such a drought at this time of year – our main worry used to be our river flooding, now we worry about it disappearing.”
Researchers were able to piece together that the Barge’s sinking was caused due to a bombardment by American forces in 1943, where the boat was submerged. The reappearance of this WWII era ship is setting off major alarm bells for Italian authorities. The drought is causing many issues.
Water is so low in large stretches of Italy’s largest river that local residents are walking through the middle of the expanse of sand and shipwrecks are resurfacing all over the place. “It’s the first time that we can see this barge,” said amateur cyclist Raffaele Vezzali as he got off the pedals to stare at the rusted ship. Vezzali was only partially surprised, though, as he knew that the lack of winter rain caused the river to reach record low levels.
The region is not currently getting enough rain and there will be a seriously alarming shortage of water for the community to use for drinking, irrigation for farmers and, local populations across the whole of northern Italy.
Plans are currently being made to work on a resiliency that guarantees drinking and irrigation water to millions of households and Po valley farmers who produce forty percent of Italy’s food. Part of this plan being put into motion is more draining from Alpine lakes, lower water for hydroelectric plants, and rationing of water in upstream regions.
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