Venice’s worst floods for more than 50 years are a result of climate change, the city’s mayor Luigi Brugnaro has said.
Speaking on Wednesday (13 November), Brugnaro said the cost of the flood damage would run to hundreds of millions of euros and would scar the city permanently.
A state of emergency is expected to be declared in the city on Thursday (14 November) after two people died in the floods, which are the result of persistent heavy rain over several days.
It is estimated that as much as 85% of the city is now flooded, including the city’s most iconic landmark St Mark’s Basilica.
“The government must listen,” said Brugnaro in a tweet. “These are the effects of climate change.”
Italian prime minister Giuseppe Conte visited the city on Wednesday evening and is expected on Thursday to announce emergency powers to assist city authorities.
Speaking at the scene, Conte said the situation was “a blow to the heart of the country”, Mail Online reports.
Water levels in the city have reached their second highest level – six feet – since records began in 1923 according to the city’s tidal monitoring centre, and are expected to remain “very high” in the coming days.
Venice Marco Polo airport remains open, but warns on its website: “Water connections to the airport remain difficult due to the exceptional level of the tide.”
EasyJet has confirmed its flights to the city are operating as normal. “We are aware of reports of flooding in Venice and our thoughts are with those affected," said the carrier. “Please be advised our Venice flights are operating as normal.”
Many hotels though have been affected, with the head of the city’s hotels association warning of widespread damage and a lack of resources to improve the situation quickly.
Public transport, including water taxis, are understood to be operational.
The Foreign Office is yet to make any changes to its travel advice in light of the flooding.