TEHRAN (Press Shia) – Severe flooding in Venice that has left much of the Italian city under water and killed at least two is a direct result of climate change, the mayor said.

– World news –

The mayor of Venice is poised to declare a state of emergency after the city was hit by the highest tide in more than 50 years, with another surge expected to cause further widespread flooding and destruction on Wednesday.

Flooding in the lagoon city reached its second-highest level ever in the wake of the aqua alta, or high waters, which reached 1.87 meters late on Tuesday night amid heavy rain, just short of the record 1.94 meters (78 in) recorded in 1966.

An elderly local man from Pellestrina, one of the many islands in the Venetian lagoon, died when he was struck by lightning while using an electric water pump, the fire brigade said. The body of another man was found in his home.

More than 85% of Venice was flooded, authorities said, including the historic basilica and many of its squares and alleyways. While the water level dropped slightly on Wednesday morning, a further torrent of water, whipped up by high winds, is forecast to sweep in later in the day, reaching a level of 1.60 meters.

The mayor of Venice, Luigi Brugnaro, said he would declare a state of emergency, adding that the flood levels represented “a wound that will leave indelible signs”. Saying the cost of the damage would be “very high”, he tweeted: “We ask the government to help us. This is the result of climate change.”

The governor of the Veneto region, Luca Zaia, described a scene of “apocalyptic devastation”, saying the city was “on its knees … The art, the basilica, the shops and the homes, a disaster … Venice is bracing itself for the next high tide,” he said on TV.

The head of the Venice hotels association said the damage was enormous, with many hotels losing electricity and lacking pumps to remove water. Tourists with ground floor rooms were had to be evacuated to higher floors as the waters rose on Tuesday night, Claudio Scarpa told the Ansa press agency.

The overnight surge also triggered several fires, including one at the International Gallery of Modern Art Ca’ Pesaro. Video on social media showed deep water flowing like a river along one of Venice’s main thoroughfares.

Other footage showed large waves hammering boats moored alongside the Doge’s Palace and surging over the stone sidewalks. Much of Italy has been pummeled by torrential rains in recent days, with widespread flooding, especially in the southern heel and toe of the country.

Further bad weather is forecast for the coming days