Venice is used to floods, especially during very high tides, but the water levels that the lagoon city has been experiencing since Tuesday are highly abnormal — they have risen to their highest point in over 50 years, killing two people and causing millions of dollars in damages.
Water levels reached 6.1 feet on Wednesday after heavy rain on Tuesday night. Eighty-five percent of Venice is flooded, including St. Mark’s Square (under over three feet of water) and St. Mark’s Basilica. Both are located at the lowest point in Venice. The water inside the basilica is said to have already created irreparable damage.
As reported by The Guardian, Luigi Brugnaro, the mayor of Venice, said, “We ask the government to help us. This is the result of climate change.” He also announced his intention to declare a state of emergency. Dario Franceschini, Italy’s minister of culture, promised that the government would provide funding to help preserve the city, though an exact number has not been revealed.
Brugnaro promised that the Mose project, conceived in 1984 to defend Venice against high tides, would finally be completed.