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Venice prepares for another devastating high tide

Venice is preparing for another devastating high tide as the lagoon city continues to endure the biggest surge of flood waters in 50 years.

The high tide on Friday is predicted to peak at 160cm (5.2ft) – far beyond the emergency levels that sets off sirens in the streets.

In normal conditions, levels of 80-90cm are generally seen as high but manageable.

The famous St Mark’s Square was swept with knee-high water.

Head of Italy's far-right League (Lega) party, Matteo Salvini (C) walks across the flooded St. Mark's Square
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Head of Italy’s far-right League (Lega) party, Matteo Salvini (C) walks across the flooded St. Mark’s Square
A man stands outside a souvenir shop as a woman walks across a flooded alleyway
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A man stands outside a souvenir shop as a woman walks across a flooded alleyway

The city saw the second-worst flooding on record on Tuesday when the level reached 187cm (6.1ft) above sea level, prompting the Italian government to declare a state of emergency.

“Another day of alert for Venice. The sirocco wind keeps blowing. I invite all … to keep yourselves updated on the level of the water,” mayor Luigi Brugnaro tweeted.

The mayor has blamed climate change for the severe flooding, which has swamped the city’s historic basilica, squares and centuries-old buildings.

Levels are due to peak at 11.20am local time (10.20am GMT) today, then ease to 110-120cm over the weekend, according to tide forecast centre CPSM Venezia.



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Venice floods: Italy declares state of emergency

Many shopkeepers on St Mark’s Square said they were forced to close their businesses 10 days ago when levels broke through the 110cm (3.6ft) threshold.

Saint Mark’s Basilica, parts of which date back to the 11th century, was flooded, with an official even pointing to a risk of collapse during the worst of the flooding.

Tourists use a temporary platform to cross St Mark's Square
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Tourists use a temporary platform to cross St Mark’s Square
Venice flooded by highest tide in more than 50 years
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Venice flooded by highest tide in more than 50 years

Visitors were forced to make their way along temporary platforms above the water, while others donned wet weather gear and sloshed through the floods.

Two people have reportedly died as a result of the flooding.

A man in his 70s died on the barrier island of Pellestrina after being electrocuted, and another person died on the same island, though the cause was unknown, Italian news agency ANSA said.

Meanwhile, much of Banksy’s famous artwork in the Italian city is now under water, including a drawing showing a migrant child wearing a life jacket and holding a neon pink flare, which first appeared on a wall in the Campo San Pantalon earlier this year.

The artwork by street artist Banksy, that portrays a migrant child wearing a lifejacket and holding a neon pink flare, is pictured after an exceptional overnight "Alta Acqua" high tide water level, on November 13, 2019 in Venice.
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The artwork by street artist Banksy after an exceptional overnight ‘Alta Acqua’ high tide water level
Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte in Venice
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Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte in Venice

Snow was expected in the city of Belluno in the northern part of the Veneto region, at the foot of Dolomites, potentially aggravating the situation in Venice.

The government declared a state of emergency for Venice on Thursday and allocated an initial 20 million euros (£17m) to address the immediate damage.

Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said on Friday the government will hold an extraordinary meeting on 26 November to discuss the “governance and the structural problems of the city”.

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