The recent devastating explosion in the Lebanese capital of Beirut has affected close to 640 historic buildings, leaving some 60 of them on the brink of collapse, Sarkis Khoury, the director-general of antiquities at the Ministry of Culture of Lebanon, said on Thursday
MOSCOW (Pakistan Point News / Sputnik - 13th August, 2020) The recent devastating explosion in the Lebanese capital of Beirut has affected close to 640 historic buildings, leaving some 60 of them on the brink of collapse, Sarkis Khoury, the director-general of antiquities at the Ministry of Culture of Lebanon, said on Thursday.
Khoury spoke at a UNESCO-hosted international virtual conference for the coordination of emergency and longer-term measures to safeguard Beirut's damaged cultural heritage and rehabilitate its cultural life.
"At least 8,000 buildings, many concentrated in the old districts of Gemmayzeh and Mar-Mikhael, were affected [by the blast]. Among them are some 640 historic buildings, approximately 60 of which are at risk of collapse," Khoury said, as cited in a press release by UNESCO.
According to the Lebanese official, among the affected buildings were major museums, such as the 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.
"UNESCO, responding to the Directorate-General of Antiquities of Lebanon's call for support, will lead the international mobilization for the recovery and reconstruction of Beirut's culture and heritage, based on the Directorate-General's technical needs assessment and the International Action Plan for Culture in Beirut, which UNESCO is currently developing with all its partners in Lebanon and abroad," the UN's Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization said.
As listed in the press release, UNESCO's key partners include the International Alliance for the Protection of Heritage in Conflict Areas - ALIPH, the Arab Regional Centre for World Heritage, Blue Shield, the International Centre for the Study and Preservation of Restoration of Cultural Property, the International Council of Museums, and the International Council on Museums and Sites as well as Lebanon's Permanent Envoy to UNESCO Sahar Baassiri.
Last Tuesday, the Lebanese capital was rocked by an exceptionally powerful blast which sent shock waves miles away from its epicenter in the port of Beirut. Entire districts adjacent to the port area were destroyed. The government declared Beirut a site of disaster and imposed a two-week state of emergency. The damage to urban infrastructure is estimated at billions of Dollars.