Cultural Organizations Worldwide Pledge Support to Beirut Following Blast Damage to Museums and Heritage Sites

  • August 25, 2020 17:02

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The Sursock Museum, a modern art and contemporary art museum in Beirut, Lebanon, prior to damage from the August 4 blast.
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International cultural organizations have expressed support for Beirut following blasts that extensively damaged historic buildings, cultural sites and museums in the Lebanese capital on August 4.

Thousands of buildings, including hundreds in the city’s historic districts, were damaged. Over 178 people were killed while many more sustained injuries. Some 300,000 residents were left homeless. A stockpile of more than 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate stored in the port has been blamed for the devastation.

UNESCO will be coordinating the international mobilization for the recovery and reconstruction of Beirut’s culture and heritage, the organization announced, in response to the Directorate-General of Antiquities of Lebanon’s call for support. In addition to the historic buildings, efforts will be made to restore the badly-damaged National Museum of Beirut, the Sursock Museum and the Archaeological Museum of the American University of Beirut, as well as cultural spaces, galleries and religious sites.

The international group's statement is here and below:

Statement of solidarity with Lebanon and support to recover the damaged cultural heritage in Beirut

We wish to express our solidarity with the Lebanese people for the tragedy that has struck the city of Beirut. We are saddened by these events and we send our condolences for the loss of lives and our shared concern for the scale of material destruction.

As members and practitioners of the heritage protection community, we have worked for decades alongside the Lebanese people to safeguard and preserve the nation’s unique cultural heritage. We remain by your side to continue our collective work during these challenging times.

Damaged libraries, museums, and historic buildings will require cultural first aid and longer term recovery interventions. Their collections will need urgent protection and salvaging. We pledge to do all that we can to contribute to the complete recovery of the heritage that has been damaged in Beirut by this blast. In full solidarity,

Arab Regional Centre for World Heritage (Bahrain)
ArcHerNet (Germany)
Bahrain Authority for Culture and Antiquities (Bahrain)
BlueShield International
British Council Managed UK Cultural Protection Fund (United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland)
Cité de l’architecture et du patrimoine – Ecole de Chaillot (France)
Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi (United Arab Emirates)
EUROPA NOSTRA – The European Voice of Civil Society committed to Cultural Heritage Fondation nationale des musées (Morocco)
Global Heritage Fund (United States of America)
Honor Frost Foundation (United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland)
Institut du Monde Arabe (IMA) Institut Français du Proche Orient (IFPO)
Institut national du patrimoine (France)
International alliance for the protection of heritage in conflict areas (ALIPH)
International Centre for the Study of the Preservation and Restoration of Cultural Property (ICCROM)
International Council of Museums (ICOM)
Islamic World Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ICESCO)
Ministry of Culture of the Government of the Grand Duchy of Luxemburg Musée des Civilisations de l’Europe et de la Méditerranée (MUCEM) (France)
Musée du Louvre (France)
Musée national du Mali (Mali)
National Museum of China (China)
Prince Claus Fund for Culture and Development (the Netherlands)
Rempart (France)
United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)
World Monuments Fund (United States of America)

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