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Parts of Venice neck deep in flood water

  • Story Highlights
  • Venice reportedly suffering one of its worst floods in 22 years
  • Landmark Piazza San Marco under almost a meter of water at one point
  • UNESCO has warned Venice at risk of high waters caused by climate change
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(CNN) -- Venice has suffered its worst flooding in 22 years, leaving some parts of the historic Italian city neck-deep in water, reports said Monday.

A woman wades through high waters in Venice's Piazza San Marco.

A woman wades through high waters in Venice's Piazza San Marco.

Water burst the banks of the coastal city's famed canals, leaving the landmark Piazza San Marco -- St Mark's Square -- under almost a meter of water at one point, news agency ANSA reported.

Strong winds pushed waters to a high of 1.56 meters (5 feet 2 inches) at 10:45 a.m. local time, prompting the city government to issue warnings to the public, the agency said.

The flood level began to drop soon afterwards, prompted by a change in the direction of the wind.

Previous highs include 1.58 meters in 1986 and 1.66 meters in 1979, the news agency said. Video Watch more about the flooding »

Photographs showed people wading through inundated piazzas and waves lapping over waterside cafe tables.

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Venice, built around a network of canals and small islands, has for years been trying to tackle the problem of floods that have regularly blighted the city.

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In 2007, the United Nations cultural organization UNESCO warned Venice -- a designated World Heritage Site -- is under threat from rising sea levels caused by climate change. Photo See pictures of Venetians wading through flood waters. »

It said that unless the problem is tackled, Venice could be flooded daily and water levels would permanently rise by 54 centimeters in the city by the year 2100.

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