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CHAMPION OF THE DAY
Work has started to save
damaged heritage buildings
Beirut Heritage brings
together NGOs and professionals
Work has started to prevent heritage buildings from collapsing at 13 locations affected by the explosion at the Port of Beirut. More than 200 heritage homes will be assessed.
The initiative has been launched by a volunteering group named Beirut Heritage Initiative. Organizations and professionals including architects, engineers, and contractors have joined hands to protect historical buildings severely damaged by the explosion. Around 640 historic buildings were damaged including at least 60 structures at risk of collapse.
The damaged buildings include old homes, museums, and religious sites. The badly damaged cultural landmarks include Sursock Museum.
Save Beirut Heritage, one of the groups working under the umbrella of Beirut Heritage Initiative, will rely on donations for the needed supplies, according to its chairperson Joana Hammour. “The first step will be to reinforce buildings at risk then we will start with the repairs,” she said. Various subgroups are contributing support including legal, technical, and financial.
The municipality of Beirut is testing the safety level of damaged buildings. The cost of rebuilding the historic buildings is estimated at $300 million, according to the Ministry of Culture whose teams are developing renovation plans.
Joy Kanaan, a member of the board of the Arab Center for Architecture (ACA), said that many individuals and institutions are willing to provide financial support. “We are creating a fund to raise money,” she said. Preparations are underway to make the group a legal body in order to be able to engage in fundraising, according to Kanaan. ACA is a non-profit organization involved in the preservation of Arab buildings constructed in the 1930s-1960s.
Others NGOs are willing to join this initiative, Kanaan said.
UNESCO said it will lead an international campaign for the restoration of Beirut’s heritage.
The Ministry of Finance has prohibited the sale of any historic edifice without the authorization of the Ministry of Culture.
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Aug 18, 2020
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