(BBC) – Severe flooding in Venice that has left much of the Italian city underwater is a direct result of climate change, the mayor says.
The highest water levels in the region in more than 50 years will leave “a permanent mark”, Venice Mayor Luigi Brugnaro tweeted.
“Now the government must listen,” he added. “These are the effects of climate change… the costs will be high.”
The waters in Venice peaked at 1.87m (6ft), according to the tide monitoring centre. Only once since official records began in 1923 has the tide been higher, reaching 1.94m in 1966.
Images showed popular tourist sites left completely flooded and people wading through the streets as Venice was hit by a storm.
St Mark’s Square – one of the lowest parts of the city – was one of the worst-hit areas. St Mark’s Basilica was flooded for the sixth time in 1,200 years, according to church records.
Pierpaolo Campostrini, a member of St Mark’s council, said four of those floods had now occurred within the past 20 years. The city of Venice is made up of more than 100 islands inside a lagoon off the north-east coast of Italy.
Two people died on the island of Pellestrina, a thin strip of land that separates the lagoon from the Adriatic Sea. A man was electrocuted as he tried to start a pump in his home and a second person was found dead elsewhere.