By Julia Hollingsworth, CNN
Updated 0847 GMT (1647 HKT) November 13, 2019
A tourist walks near the Rialto bridge after the passage of the exceptional high tide that reached 187 cm on November 12, 2019 in Venice, Italy.
(CNN)An elderly man has died in the worst floods to hit Venice in more than 50 years, as local authorities in the Italian lagoon city called for a state of emergency to be imposed.The unnamed man was killed on Tuesday night while he was trying to run electric pumps at his home on the island of Pellestrina, Alessandro Bertasi, spokesman for Venice’s mayor, told CNN.The popular tourist destination was struck by an exceptionally high tide on Tuesday night, which peaked at 187 centimeters (73.6 inches), according to a statement by Venice’s government Wednesday morning.It is the worst flooding in Venice since 1966, when the city was hit by tides up to 194 cm (76.4 inches) high, according to government statistics.
On Tuesday, the Tide Forecasting and Reporting Center of Civil Protection said that 45% of the city was flooded. Thirty volunteers will be deployed Wednesday to help with the clean-up, it said.Photos show waters flooding St Mark’s Square in front of the famous Basilica, and spilling into the Gritti Palace luxury hotel.Venice’s government announced that after the “extraordinary” tide, it would “submit a request for a state of emergency” to the country’s central government. All schools will be closed Wednesday due to the weather conditions, the local government said.
Nov 12, 2019 It also asked citizens and businesses to collect evidence of any damage their properties had suffered so they could request compensation.In a tweet, Venice’s mayor Luigi Brugnaro blamed climate change for the unusually high tides, and said the tide was “a wound that will leave a permanent mark.”Only around 53,000 residents live in Venice, which has seen its population dwindle over the past 50 years as it tries to curb overtourism.Tides of 140cm (55 inches) or more are known as “acqua alta” in Italian, and generally take place in winter time, according to Venice’s municipality website.
CNN’s Gianluca Mezzofiore, Laura Perez Maestro and Livia Borghese contributed to this report.