Sunday, May 03, 2015

Cultural heritage reconstruction may take decades in Nepal

The United Nation's cultural agency is warning that the restoration of the cultural heritage sites damaged in Nepal's earthquake might take ten years or even decades.

Christian Manhart, the UNESCO representative to Nepal, is calling on the international community to help with the rebuilding.

"I think we have thousands of monuments to restore, and I can only say that this will take at least ten years, but maybe it will take many decades, so it's very difficult to say now. And also this will depend on the financial means which will be available for that because the government of Nepal doesn't have enough money to do this so they need the help and the solidarity of the international community and I think the help coming from China will be extremely welcome here in Nepal."

Statistics from UNESCO show that seven world cultural heritage sites in Kathmandu Valley were damaged to varying extents as result of the strong quake.

While the Nepalese government says 90 percent of the buildings at these heritage sites have been destroyed.

Cultural official Tulsi Gautam says the reconstruction work will be challenging.

"Two things here. One is cost, very high cost. Second is the technology and technical manpower may not be enough to fix it up. Not only the heritage sites, maybe hundreds of thousands of houses are damaged. So to rebuild them, we require a lot of resources, and a lot of human capital also, human resources also. We also require the manpower. It's a really challenging task."

The UN has formulated a reconstruction plan, with priority given to reinforcing existing and new buildings' resistance to earthquake.

Tourism accounts for over eight percent of Nepal's GDP, and seven percent of its employed population works in the sector.

 CRI -

1 comment:

  1. Nepal quake-ravaged temple faces threat from looters ...

    Surrounded by ochre rubble, Pannakaji beds down on a mattress wedged between Buddha statues at Kathmandu's "Monkey Temple", hoping to deter looters from the quake-ravaged site where his ancestors have served as priests for 1,600 years.

    The hilltop Swayambunath Temple complex, one of Nepal's oldest and most sacred religious monuments, was partly reduced to debris by the 7.8 magnitude earthquake that struck on April 25.

    Some of the seventh-century stupas remain intact and a few statues miraculously survived the disaster, but those that did now risk being pillaged by looters or desperate devotees hoping for a bit of good luck after the devastation.

    "We have been priests here for the last 1,600 years, so I stay," said 61-year-old Pannakaji, who goes by one name, as he sat barefoot under a tarpaulin in a makeshift camp with 200 other temple inhabitants.

    The earthquake razed the community's small wooden shacks, leaving behind a scene reminiscent of a war zone, with families salvaging what they could from the ruins -- medicines, cooking utensils and some clothes.

    The temple guardians are not only worried about spending nights in make-do shelters and the threat of aftershocks that could bring down the remaining structures -- but also fear that looters may come at night to take what they can.

    "I don't sleep. I keep watch. I want to stop people stealing the statues," Pannakaji said as he twisted wooden prayer beads in his hands.

    UNESCO has sent a group of experts to evaluate the damage to the temple and to try to protect the unique religious site from


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