Venice has flooded for the second time this week as 70% of the city is flooded after another high tide that is far beyond normal levels hit the city. The government declared a state of emergency with the mayor blaming climate change.
The city is facing the second-worst flooding in nearly 100 years, and high tide could hit nearly twice the normal level today. At least two people have died, and the city's mayor has closed the historic St. Mark's Square. The government is allocating 20 million euros ($22 million) to address the immediate damage but Venice Mayor Luigi Brugnaro predicted the costs would be vastly higher and launched a fund to help pay for repairs.
Venice, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is spread over 118 islands and once presided over a powerful maritime empire. The city is filled with Gothic architectural masterpieces which house paintings by some of Italy’s most important artists.
Italian Culture Minister Dario Franceschini said initial checks suggested the damage to St. Mark’s was not irreparable, but warned that more than 50 churches across the city had been flooded this week.
Venice could be permanently submerged by the end of the next century, scientists warn.