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Young Venetians volunteer after flood of their lifetimes

As soon as waters receded from this week’s devastating flood, about 50 young Venetians wearing rubber boots and gripped by a sense of determination showed up at the city’s Music Conservatory to help save precious manuscripts.

Thanks to their work, some 50 linear meters of archival manuscripts lay strewn in the conservatory’s upper floors to dry this weekend.

A network of young Venetians responded to the worst flood in their lifetimes by organizing work groups to help salvage what they could.

Music books are placed to dry at the first floor of Venice Conservatory after being recovered from ground floor, Italy, Saturday, Nov. 16, 2019. High tidal waters returned to Venice on Saturday, four days after the city experienced its worst flooding in 50 years. Young Venetians are responding to the worst flood in their lifetimes by volunteering to help salvage manuscripts, clear out waterlogged books and lend a hand where needed throughout the stricken city.(AP PhotoLuca Bruno)

Modeling their network after the so-called “Mud Angels” who famously poured into Florence after the 1966 flood swamped that city’s treasures with mud from the Arno, these youth are calling themselves “Angels of the Salt,” for the corrosive, destructive saline content of the lagoon water.

Giulio Manieri Elia, Director of the Accademia Gallery stands in one of the rooms of the gallery during an interview with the Associated Press, in Venice, Saturday, Nov. 16, 2019. As high tidal waters returned to Venice on Saturday, four days after the city experienced its worst flooding in 50 years, young Venetians are responding to the worst flood in their lifetimes by volunteering to help salvage manuscripts, clear out waterlogged books and lend a hand where needed throughout the stricken city. (AP PhotoLuca Bruno)

Damaged books are piled outside renowned bookstore "Acqua Alta" (High Water) as volunteers help cleaning after flooding in Venice, Italy, Saturday, Nov. 16, 2019. High tidal waters returned to Venice on Saturday, four days after the city experienced its worst flooding in 50 years. Young Venetians are responding to the worst flood in their lifetimes by volunteering to help salvage manuscripts, clear out waterlogged books and lend a hand where needed throughout the stricken city.(AP PhotoLuca Bruno)

Giulio Manieri Elia, Director of the Accademia Gallery points the level reached by the water at the base of plaster cast sculpture 'Paride' by Antonio Canova, at the Accademia gallery, during an interview with The Associated Press in Venice, Saturday, Nov. 16, 2019. As high tidal waters returned to Venice on Saturday, four days after the city experienced its worst flooding in 50 years, young Venetians are responding to the worst flood in their lifetimes by volunteering to help salvage manuscripts, clear out waterlogged books and lend a hand where needed throughout the stricken city. (AP PhotoLuca Bruno)

A wet mark at the base of the wall shows the level the water reached next to the base of the plaster cast sculpture 'Paride' by Antonio Canova, at the Accademia Gallery, in Venice, Saturday, Nov. 16, 2019. As high tidal waters returned to Venice on Saturday, four days after the city experienced its worst flooding in 50 years, young Venetians are responding to the worst flood in their lifetimes by volunteering to help salvage manuscripts, clear out waterlogged books and lend a hand where needed throughout the stricken city. (AP PhotoLuca Bruno)

Ancient music sheets are placed to dry at the first floor of Venice Conservatory after being recovered from ground floor, Italy, Saturday, Nov. 16, 2019. High tidal waters returned to Venice on Saturday, four days after the city experienced its worst flooding in 50 years. Young Venetians are responding to the worst flood in their lifetimes by volunteering to help salvage manuscripts, clear out waterlogged books and lend a hand where needed throughout the stricken city. (AP PhotoLuca Bruno)

Volunteers try to save ancient music books by placing them to dry at the first floor of Venice Conservatory after recovering them from ground floor, Italy, Saturday, Nov. 16, 2019. High tidal waters returned to Venice on Saturday, four days after the city experienced its worst flooding in 50 years. Young Venetians are responding to the worst flood in their lifetimes by volunteering to help salvage manuscripts, clear out waterlogged books and lend a hand where needed throughout the stricken city. (AP PhotoLuca Bruno)