$13 mn WB-funded plan launched to restore heritage buildings damaged by Beirut blasts

Lebanese Culture Minister Mohammad Mortada has launched a $13 million plan funded by the World Bank for the reconstruction and restoration of heritage buildings damaged by the Beirut blasts, the National News Agency reported.

The launching came during a meeting held at Movenpick hotel in Beirut attended by the World Bank Regional Director Saroj Kumar Jha and Beirut Governor Marwan Abboud.

Mortada said the Ministry conducted a field survey to assess the damage to the heritage buildings and the degree of destruction that resulted from the blasts, Xinhua news agency reported.

The Ministry will expand the scope of protection for these buildings to include modern heritage architecture, gardens, historical squares, cultural monuments such as museums and theatres, as well as public spaces, he added.

The Ministry also seeks to pass a draft law for the protection of heritage sites and buildings as this constitutes the most appropriate solution to preserve the urban heritage and to compensate the owners of these buildings.

Two big explosions rocked the Beirut port on August 4, 2020, damaging some 640 heritage buildings, 60 of which were critically deteriorated, according to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization.