While reiterating expressions of condolence and solidarity with the people of Lebanon in the wake of the tragic explosions in Beirut on 4 August 2020, UNESCO is taking action and organizing a meeting on 10 August together with the Directorate General of Antiquities in the Ministry of Culture of Lebanon and its partners – ALIPH, ARC-WH, Blue Shield, ICCROM, ICOM and ICOMOS - to jointly assess the situation and determine how the international community can support Lebanon in its efforts to safeguard the invaluable cultural heritage of Beirut.
The explosions destroyed a number of cultural assets in Beirut, which are a testimony to the country’s rich culture, identity and history. Important museums and galleries including the Sursock Museum and the Archaeological Museum of the American University in Beirut, as well as the urban cultural heritage districts of Gemmayzeh and Mar-Mikhaël, are among the sites that are reported to be severely damaged. Other galleries such as Malerie Marfa and Galerie Tanit are reported to be completely destroyed.
Culture and heritage are fundamental to societies and give strength and comfort to communities emerging from loss and tragedy. While humanitarian needs are of immediate concern, the protection and rehabilitation of cultural heritage and the prevention of further damage and loss are important for the longer-term recovery of the city and its people. This first coordination meeting aims to identify concrete measures that can be proposed to the Lebanese Government as well as local authorities and institutions in Beirut.
UNESCO stands ready to assist the people of Lebanon as they recover from this tragic incident.