Italian mayor blames Venice flooding on climate change

"Venice is on its knees. These are the effects of climate changes."

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Image Credit: Miguel Medina/AFP

Venice saw the highest tide in 50 years on Tuesday night threatening many monuments throughout the historic city putting it in a state of emergency. With 45 percent of the city flooded, Venice is asking for the government’s help, the Tide Forecasting and Reporting Center of Civil Protection reported.

The high tide reached 6 feet, 2 inches, which is 2 inches less than the highest recorded flood in 1966. While this was the worst flooding in 50 years, Venice tends to experience acqua alta, or severe tidal flooding, during the winter because of strong winds that funnel water from the northern Adriatic Sea, NPR reported.

But Mayor Luigi Brugnaro said climate change is to blame for this flood.

“Venice is on its knees,” Mayor Luigi Brugnaro said. “These are the effects of climate changes.”

Mayor Brugnaro said the “extraordinary” high tide was “a wound that will leave a permanent mark.”

The high water and strong winds from the high tide caused about a third of the Venice’s 1,100 raised walkways used to help people navigate through high water, to be flooded, according to the city’s public utility, Gruppo Veritas.

“Winds from the north and south entered the harbor entrance pushing the sea into the lagoon and increasing the tide,” Mayor Brugnaro said.

City ferries, water taxis and gondolas were washed up on walkways, while flood waters poured through the entrances of retail stores. CNN reported that waters flooded “St. Mark’s Square in front of the famous Basilica, and spilling into the Gritti Palace luxury hotel.”

The mayor said that the “dramatic situation,” which reached upwards of hundreds of millions of euros in damages, left the future of the city in jeopardy and he quickly called for the completion of Moses, a project that would “build movable undersea barriers to limit flooding,” VOA reported.

But the worst is far from over, Luca Zaia, the President of the Veneto Region, claimed, with more rain and strong winds expected in the coming days.

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