The historic city of Venice has been flooded by the second-highest tide recorded in the city’s history, with Mayor Brugnaro vowing to declare a state of emergency as authorities struggle to limit the damage.
The Tuesday tide peaked at 187cm (6.14 ft) at 10.50 pm local time, just shy of the all-time record 194cm set in 1966. Mayor Luigi Brugnaro warned of severe damage that “is going to leave an indelible wound” on Venice, after a 187cm high tide left more than 85 percent of the city flooded.
“The situation is dramatic,” Brugnaro said on Twitter. “We ask the government to help us. The cost will be high. This is the result of climate change.”
The comments were echoed by the governor or the region, Luca Zaia, who said that Venice is facing “apocalyptic” flooding.
“We faced a total and apocalyptic flood, I will not exaggerate in words, but 80% of the city is under water. Unimaginable damage has been done,” he said.
Eyewitness footage showed the stunning extent of the flooding, with people being forced to swim for their lives in certain parts of the city.
Saint Mark’s Square was submerged under more than three feet of water, while the historic Basilica flooded for just the sixth time in over a millennium. The site has flooded four times in the last 20 years, the last of which was in October 2018.
There have been no immediate reports of damage inside the church, though after last year’s floods, the church administrator said the building had aged 20 years in a single day.