Venice‘s Mayor, Luigi Brugnaro has called for the city to be declared a disaster zone after the second highest tide ever recorded left 85 percent of the city underwater.

The city of Venice is made up of more than 100 islands inside a lagoon off the north-east coast of Italy.

Two people have died in severe flooding, including one man in his 70s who was killed on the barrier island when he was struck by lightning while using an electric water pump.

Mayor Brugnaro said the flooding was “the result of climate change“ and warned the damage could cost millions of euros.

The Archbishop of Venice, Francesco Moraglia, said St Mark’s Basilica, which has been flooded for the sixth time in 1,200 years may suffer “irreparable” harm.

The high-water mark hit 187cm late on Tuesday. The highest level ever recorded was 194cm during infamous flooding in 1966.

The head of Italy’s transport commission, vowed to send lawmakers to Venice to review the long-delayed flood protection barrier system which is believed could have prevented the high tides.

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