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 destruction on Wednesday, November 13, The Guardian reports.
Flooding in the lagoon city reached its second-highest level ever in the wake of the aqua alta, or high waters, which hit 1.87 metres on Tuesday night amid heavy rain. La Stampa reported that two people had died. One elderly man was electrocuted after his home was flooded, causing a short circuit, on the island of Pellestrina, and the body of another man was found in his home.
More than 85% of the city was flooded on Tuesday night. The highest level recorded was 1.98 metres (78 in) in 1966. A further wave is expected to reach 1.60 metres on Wednesday, Ansa reported.
The mayor of Venice, Luigi Brugnaro, blamed the climate crisis for the “dramatic situation”. Announcing he would declare a state of emergency, he warned the flood levels represented “a wound that will leave indelible signs”.
Brugnaro has also called on the Italian government to help the city immediately as the cost of the damage was expected to be “very high”. In November 2018, high tides cost an estimated €2.2m (£1.9m) of damage to St Mark’s Basilica.
Brugnaro also pledged that the long-delayed Mose project, designed to prevent flooding in the Venice lagoon by constructing off-shore barriers, would be completed. Work began in 2003 but has been dogged by delays and myriad issues, including a corruption scandal that emerged in 2014.