Meath man loses everything after Venice floods wash away his houseboat

Meath man loses everything after Venice floods wash away his houseboat
Daryl Smith in the floods.

A Meath man's houseboat and all his possessions were washed away in the recent record floods in the Italian city of Venice.

Daryl Smith (aged 34) from Nobber was living on a house boat when high waters devastated the historic streets of Venice and surrounding Islands of the lagoon last week.

He was visiting with a friend at a hostel when he heard his home had been wrecked by the rising waters.

"St Mark's Square is 80cm above sea level and the waters rose to 145cm. My houseboat Gina and the smaller wooden one Pegasus were okay on the other side of the city as I went to visit a friend as I thought that the wind reports were sound," he said

"The waters kept rising up to 187cm and when myself and my friend, who lives on the third storey went downstairs, the water was up to our waists.

"We decided to got to the local hostel for safety and electricity. Travellers staying there were horrified to have witnessed such a storm mixed with the crashing waves hitting the main door of the hostel.

"I'm one of the few people in Venice who live on a house boat and another friend rang to say she could no longer see my home and my smaller boat.

As the high water level started to decrease, I went with my friend to look for my home but only saw pieces of my boat Pegasus floating everywhere. My home Gina had sank and I had lost everything along with my Irish passport on board.

"A few days later I even went in search of my passport which was in a sealed, waterproof bag but couldn't find it."

However, Daryl who has been living and working in Venice for the last five years has been heartened by the community response he received

"Venice is a small enough population and most people would know me from being out and about and helping around the city

Daryl currently teaches English and an anti-bullying programme in local schools as well as going plastic fishing to take out the plastics from the canals

Daryl Smith on his boat.
Daryl Smith on his boat.

"I help with volunteering visitors to try and clear as much plastic as we can before it gets into the Adriatic sea. It really showcases what can be achieved at the hands of very few."

As he struggles with costs to restore his houseboat, a GoFundMe page has been set up to help Daryl get back on his feet and back into his home.

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