International body to focus on protecting Haiti’s culture


(eTN) – It has been almost six months since the 7.0 magnitude earthquake struck and devastated Haiti. Now, a United Nations body, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), has announced that it is aiming to take action in protecting the beleaguered nation’s cultural heritage.

UNESCO is said to be meeting in Paris this week to decide what steps to take to protect Haiti’s cultural heritage, much of which was seriously damaged by January’s devastating earthquake.

More than 200,000 people were killed in the magnitude-7.0 earthquake, which left 1.3 million more homeless and destroyed countless buildings, including government facilities, hospitals, and schools.

In addition, the quake severely damaged many of Haiti’s cultural infrastructure, affecting all historic buildings in the capital, Port-au-Prince, including the Cathedral, the National Palace, and the Palace of Justice, a UN report revealed.

According to UN, among the towns also suffering extensive damage was Jacmel, in the southeast, which was founded in the late 17th century and is on Haiti’s tentative list of sites to be put forward for consideration for inscription on UNESCO’s World Heritage List.

Chaired by the Caribbean nation’s Minister of Culture Marie-Laurence Jocelyn-Lasseque, the International Coordination Committee (ICC) was set up by UNESCO to support Haitian authorities restore their country’s cultural heritage.

During its first meeting, the committee will identify priorities for the reconstruction of buildings, natural sites, and damaged historic urban centers. It will also discuss how to restore museums, art galleries, archives, and libraries.