UfM Pools Efforts for the Restoration of Beirut’s Built Heritage
13 October 2020. UNESCO reported that 640 historic buildings were damaged in the blast. Around 60 are at risk of collapse. Apart heritage buildings and historic residential architecture, many cultural and educational structures, such as museums and schools, also need extensive restoration.
The UfM seeks to contribute to efforts towards promoting the recovery and reconstruction of the built heritage in Beirut. In a coordination meeting on 13 October 2020, UfM Secretary General Nasser Kamel stated that Beirut’s built heritage is part and parcel of the Mediterranean identity and heritage. He also said that the UfM has mobilised its convening power to help pool efforts of individual UfM Member States for the restoration of Beirut’s built heritage before the onset of the rainy season in Beirut.
Lebanese interlocutors stated that the rapid damage and needs assessment has already been concluded and emergency works have already been initiated to prevent potential collapse of, and further damage to, these buildings, subject to the availability of financial resources and certain categories of construction materials. They said that UfM Member States and other donors could provide financial grants and specific construction materials to help meet the most urgent intervention requirements. They underlined that as little as US$10k-20k would suffice to pave the way for the full rehabilitation of a building in longer term. They emphasized repeatedly the vital importance of taking action now for the survival of the historic architectural fabric and character of Beirut.