Decision : CONF 201 XII.118-124
Historic Centre of Lima (Peru)
XII.118 The Bureau noted the damaged caused by the fire of 29 December 2001, in Lima. The "Mesa redonda" Quarter, densely populated and located in the buffer zone of the Historic Centre of Lima, was severely damaged by fire caused by fireworks. This fire claimed 275 victims, 162 lost and 1000 injured, as well as material damage of US$ 10,000,000, affecting more than 5000 small enterprises and leaving more than 10,000 jobless.
XII.119 Four blocks of hourses were badly damaged and three others were indirectly affected by flames, smoke and water, in particular the Chinese Quarter situated in the Historic Centre itself. Two buildings of heritage value were destroyed by fire and four others were severely damaged and are presently supported by temporary structures, and risk damaging twelve others.
XII.120 The efforts of the fire-fighters were hampered by defective equipment and almost non-existent preventive measures (absence of emergency exits and local fire fighting equipment). Prior to the fire, the ensemble of the Historic Centre was identified as being located in a high-risk zone. In fact, there is no preventive for natural or man-made catastrophes, whereas almost all the heritage buildings are of wooden construction or made of « quincha » (mixture of mud and branches).
XII.121 Since the fire, the President of the Republic of the State Party has decreed a "state of emergency of the high-risk zone situated in the Historic Centre of Lima". The President has also issued another decree authorising the Ministry of Works and Promotion to approve reconstruction projects of public property in the area of the Mesa redonda. Furthermore, a certain number of emergency measures have been taken by the Minicipality the National Institute for Culture (INC) and the Government, such as:
- clean up of the debris, inventory of damage and loss, reestablishment of 60% of the services to the affected sector, care of the victims ;
- setting up of an Emergency Operations Committee grouping assistance and obtaining 4,766 signatures of the trades people of Mesa redonda who accept to conform to standard regulations, control and security of their shops. In this regard, it should be emphasized that of the 28 commerical galleries, only 6 had permits in order, and that as of July 2001, fireworks had been forbidden in the Historic Centre.
XII.122 Moreover, during the rehabilitation work, the INC had upgraded the Prehispanic water system, in use until the Colonial period.
XII.123 With the Emergency Assistance of US$ 48,000 requested from the World Heritage Centre, the Municipality, in co-operation with INC and other national institutions, should develop a safeguarding plan for the disaster area and its surroundings, seeking solutions for the rehabilitation of homes, ensure the systematic updating of safety standards of the trades people, and the implementation of preventive measures for the ensemble of the Historic Centre.
XII.124 After noting additional information provided by the State Party, the Bureau commended the rapid actions undertaken by the State Party following the tragic fire of 29 December. It strongly encouraged the State Party to reinforce its efforts in the implementation of preventive measures against potential natural and man-made risks in the so-called high-risk area of the Historic Centre of Lima. The Bureau also requested the State Party to provide before 1 February 2003 for submission to the 27th session of the Bureau, a progress report on the measures undertaken for the rehabilitation and safeguarding of the site.