Standing in solidarity with the art and culture community of Lebanon, 27 international institutions have pledged their support in rebuilding lost heritage sites in the aftermath of the Beirut explosions. In a joint statement released by the Louvre Paris, institutions such as Unesco, the World Monuments Fund (USA), ArcHerNet (Germany), and the Arab Regional Centre for World Heritage (Bahrain) have signed a “statement of solidarity” supporting the “complete recovery” of impacted sites such as the National Museum of Beirut, the Archaeological Museum of the American University of Beirut and the Sursock Museum.
“We wish to express our solidarity with the Lebanese people for the tragedy that has struck the city of Beirut,” the statement reads. “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,” it continues. “We remain by your side to continue our collective work during these challenging times.”
Having already held an emergency meeting on August 10 with a number of cultural agencies including Blue Shield International and the International Centre for the Study and Preservation of Restoration of Cultural Property, Unesco is also working alongside Lebanon’s Ministry of Culture to carry out an initial damage assessment spearheaded by the organization’s general director of antiquities, Sarkis Khoury. Thus far, it is reported that at least 8,000 buildings were affected by the blasts of August 4; many of them being situated in the old districts of Gemmayzeh and Mar Mikhael. Comprising a number of art galleries and museums, the affected areas also include a number of historic buildings, approximately 60 of which are at risk of collapsing. In urgent need of safeguarding, Khoury’s concerns for high-risk buildings are further exacerbated on account of the city’s impending rainy season, which usually commences in September.