Venice has been plunged under water after the lagoon city was hit with the highest tide in over 50 years — and the mayor has directly blamed climate change.
Over 85 percent of the city is flooded, according to authorities, and St Mark’s Square — one of the lowest areas in Venice — is one of the worst hit zones. The historic St Mark’s basilica is flooded for the sixth time in 1,200 years, per the BBC citing church records.
On Tuesday night, the high waters — or aqua alta —reached 1.87 metres, the second highest level since records began in 1923. Only once has the tide reached a high of 1.94 metres in 1966.
The mayor of Venice, Luigi Brugnaro, declared a state of emergency and called the flood “the result of climate change”. Brugnaro stated on Twitter that the flooding is “a wound that will leave indelible signs” and urged the government to help.
Italian newspaper La Stampareported that two people had died overnight as a result of the flooding.
“We are faced with total, apocalyptic devastation,” the governor of the Veneto region, Luca Zaia, told Mediaset television, describing the city as “on its knees.”
“The art, the basilica, the shops and the homes, a disaster…Venice is bracing itself for the next high tide,” Zaia added, per the Guardian.