The mayor of Venice is poised to declare a state of emergency after the city was hit by the highest tide in more than 50 years, with another surge expected to cause further widespread flooding and destruction on Wednesday, The Guardian reports.
Two reported dead as Venice flooded by highest tide in 50 years
STEPANAKERT, NOVEMBER 13, ARTSAKHPRESS: Flooding in the lagoon city reached its second-highest level ever in the wake of the aqua alta, or high waters, which reached 1.87 metres late on Tuesday night amid heavy rain, just short of the record 1.94 metres (78 in) recorded in 1966.
An elderly local man from Pellestrina, one of the many islands in the Venetian lagoon, died when he was struck by lightning while using an electric water pump, the fire brigade said. The body of another man was found in his home.
More than 85% of Venice was flooded, authorities said, including the historic basilica and many of its squares and alleyways. While the water level dropped slightly on Wednesday morning, a further torrent of water, whipped up by high winds, is forecast to sweep in later in the day, reaching a level of 1.60 metres.
The mayor of Venice, Luigi Brugnaro, said he would declare a state of emergency, adding that the flood levels represented “a wound that will leave indelible signs”. Saying the cost of the damage would be “very high”, he tweeted: “We ask the government to help us. This is the result of climate change.”
St Mark’s Square was submerged by more than one metre of water, while the adjacent St Mark’s Basilica was flooded for the sixth time in 1,200 years – but the fourth in the last two decades. The last occasion, in November 2018, caused an estimated €2.2m (£1.9m) of damage.
The governor of the Veneto region, Luca Zaia, described a scene of “apocalyptic devastation”, saying the city was “on its knees … The art, the basilica, the shops and the homes, a disaster … Venice is bracing itself for the next high tide,” he said on TV.
Brugnaro also pledged that the multibillion-euro Mose project, designed in 1984 to protect Venice from high tides but still not in operation, would be completed. Work began in 2003 but has been dogged by delays and myriad issues, including a corruption scandal that emerged in 2014.