UNESCO Will Protect Beirut Historic Buildings That Could Collapse

UNESCO Will Protect Historic Buildings That Could Collapse
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Not only did the Beirut Port explosion destroy thousands of buildings, but it also left numerous others severely damaged, or on the verge of collapse; among those are important historic buildings.

The United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) warned that 60 historic buildings in Beirut are at risk of collapse after sustaining damage from the blast.

In Gemmayze and Mar Mikhail, the neighborhoods that witnessed some of the severest destructions due to their proximity to the Port of Beirut, exists a plethora of such buildings, considered among Lebanon’s valuable pieces of heritage.

Because many of these culturally-significant buildings are vulnerable, UNESCO has pledged in a statement to lead efforts to protect them.

“UNESCO is committed to leading the response in the field of culture, which must form a key part of wider reconstruction and recovery efforts,” said Ernesto Ottone, Assistant UNESCO Director-General for Culture.

In addition to the 60 unsafe ones, 640 historic buildings have been damaged by the August 4th explosion, according to the organization.

Some of Lebanon’s most important museums, including the National Museum of Beirut, the Sursock Museum, and the Archaeological Museum of the American University of Beirut have also sustained damage.

This was announced by Sarkis Khoury, the head of antiquities at the Lebanese Culture Ministry.

UNESCO quoted him in its statement as stressing the need for “urgent structural consolidation and waterproofing interventions to prevent further damage from approaching autumn rains.”

Whereas previous estimates indicated that the blast impacted close to 6,000 buildings, Khoury revealed that 8,000 was the more accurate number of affected buildings.

These include various “cultural spaces, galleries, and religious sites,” UNESCO said, based on Khoury’s data.

In addition to the aforementioned, the powerful blast took the lives of at least 171 people, injured over 6,000, and left more than 300,000 homeless.

It is expected to cost the state close to $15 billion while it suffers through a major economic crisis.

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