Two dead as Venice sees highest tide in over 50 years

A man clean up a gondola boat after the high tide in Venice Italy. The historic city’s mayor has blamed the high tide on climate change

A man clean up a gondola boat after the high tide in Venice Italy. The historic city’s mayor has blamed the high tide on climate

Italy's government declared a state of emergency Thursday in flood-ravaged Venice, seeking to release funds to fix the historic lagoon city after it was damaged by the highest tide in 50 years.

He said he would declare a disaster zone and ask the government to call a state of emergency, which would allow funds to be freed to address the damage.

People throughout the city have been wading through the flood waters.

Some tourists appeared to enjoy the drama, with one man filmed swimming across Saint Mark's Square wearing only shorts on Tuesday evening.

A view inside the flooded Basilica of St. Mark during an exceptional high tide on November 13, 2019 in Venice, Italy.

"It is devastation", the director of the Venetian Hoteliers Association, Claudio Scarpa, told reporters. Pierpaolo Campostrini, a member of St Mark's council, stated four of these floods had now occurred throughout the previous 20 years.

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"A high tide of 187 cm is going to leave an indelible wound", Brugnaro said.

"I've only witnessed this historic flood but I must say that the situation is unprecedented and our city is our land and it needs help and support from all", Laterza added. But the controversial project, opposed by environmentalists concerned about damaging the delicate lagoon ecosystem, has been delayed by cost overruns and corruption scandals, with no launch date in site.

"These are the effects of climate changes", Brugnaro said via Twitter as he surveyed the damage to Venice on Tuesday night.

Dozens of boats have also been damaged as a result of the flooding and many shop owners around the affected areas have been lamenting over the issue. In total, the city hall said, high tides flooded 85 percent of the city.

The famous St Mark's Basilica has also been flooded, 6th time in the past 1200 years. We said, oh, it's coming.

Tides of 140cm (55 inches) or more are known as "acqua alta" in Italian, and generally take place in winter time, according to Venice's municipality website.

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The tide flooded its historic basilica and left many of its squares and alleyways underwater.

Italy has been lashed by torrential downpours in recent days, leading to widespread flooding.

People take selfie photos at the flooded St. Mark's square by St. Mark's Basilica on November 13 2019. The bad news is no-one is sure how it will cope with the growing phenomenon of flooding and whether it might prove too little, too late.

As authorities prepared to assess the extent of the damage to Venice's cultural treasures - including St Mark's Basilica, where water invaded the crypt - locals remained defiant. "I have never seen such a high tide accompanied with such a strong, destructive wind".

While we should try to avoid attributing a single event to climate change, the increased frequency of these exceptional tides is obviously a big concern.

In a surreal scene, Italian TV showed a person swimming in St. Mark's square last night as well as other freaky images of water gushing out of toilets and electrical sockets in homes.

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