Severe flooding in Venice that has left much of the Italian city under water is a direct result of climate change, the mayor says.

The highest water levels in the region in more than 50 years will leave “a permanent mark”, Venice Mayor Luigi Brugnaro tweeted.

“Now the government must listen,” he added. “These are the effects of climate change… the costs will be high.”

The waters in Venice peaked at 1.87m (6ft), according to the tide monitoring centre. Only once since official records began in 1923 has the tide been higher, reaching 1.94m in 1966.

Images showed popular tourist sites left completely flooded and people wading through the streets as Venice was hit by a storm.

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