The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (Unesco) will allocate more than 96,000 dollars to assess the damage caused by the fire that on October 4 affected the historical and cultural heritage of the Rapa Nui National Park, located in Chilean territory, in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, 3,500 kilometers west of the American continent.
“The cooperation will focus on supporting the process of diagnosing the effects on heritage and developing, together with the community, a comprehensive management plan for the site with a strong prevention component,” said the director of the Unesco office in Chile, Claudia Uribe, through a statement.
Through its Heritage Emergency Fund (HEF), which finances activities to prepare for and respond to emergency situations in the cultural field, and with the contribution of international donors, the organization will carry out its activities between December 2022 and November 2022. 2023, which will be based on “expert advice to the Ma’u Henua indigenous community, administrator of the World Heritage site on the island,” the document reports.
“What emanates from the experts will help us carry out actions to mitigate the damage caused to our moais and other archaeological remains,” said the director of the Ma’u Henua indigenous community, Nancy Rivera.
As detailed by Unesco, in the first phase of the project “a detailed assessment of the damage caused by the fire” will be carried out, while the second “will define measures and protocols for preparation and response to emergencies for better protection and promotion of the World Heritage in Rapa Nui”, which in 1995 was included in the UNESCO List.
More than 100 burned hectares
The fire at the beginning of October left more than 100 hectares and an unknown number of the mythical stone statues known as moais burned on the island.
One of the places most affected by the flames was the crater of the Rano Raraku volcano, where the quarry with which the moai were made is located and which houses 400 of them.
The fire occurred three months after the reopening of the island to world tourism, its main source of income, and after spending two years completely closed to the outside due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The island protects the Rapa Nui National Park (PNRN), a wild area of the State of Chile that concentrates the heritage and legacy of the Rapa Nui culture. It is estimated that within the park there are some 900 statues and more than 300 ceremonial platforms.