VENICE(News Agencies)-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.
Flooding in the 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.
at least two people have died in the Venice floods. A man was reportedly fatally electrocuted after floodwaters rushed into his home, and the body of another man was found in his home.
Heavy rains have battered swathes of Italy in recent days, bringing flood conditions to many parts of the country. The deluge forced schools in many southern cities including Taranto and Matera to close.
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”, 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 ($2.4m) of damage.
The Yucatan Times