Damaged pagodas covered in quake-hit Bagan
OFFICIALS in Bagan are rushing to cover pagodas badly damaged in last week’s earthquake before rain can cause further erosion.
“We are urgently covering the damaged pagodas for the remainder of the rainy season. We are prioritising pagodas according to the scale of the damage, though we have found some pagodas that we do not need to worry about being affected by the rain,” said U Soe Tint, general administrator of Nyaung-U district.
“We will continue further maintenance after covering them with tarpaulins,” he added.
Over 30 pagodas have been identified as having suffered the most severe damage in the 6.8-magnitude quake on August 24, including the popular Pyathatgyi, Saytanargyi, Tayoke Pyay, Htilominlo, Sulamani and Bulethi pagodas. In total, 397 pagodas were in some part damaged by the tremor, according to the Ministry of Religious Affairs and Culture.
As a security measure against looting at the damaged sites, or unintentional further disrepair caused by tourists, military and police personnel have been deployed.
“If they were not there, visitors might take pieces of the debris that has fallen from the pagodas,” said U Soe Myint, a resident of Nyaung-U.
The Department of Archaeology, National Museum and Library has estimated that repair work will take one year to complete. As restoration gets under way, visitors have been prohibited from entering 33 pagodas and are not allowed to climb to the upper levels of those pagodas for sunrise and sunset viewing. To help fund repairs, lawmakers donated a day’s worth of salary on August 30 and some contributed additional funds. A total K15 million from the Pyithu Hluttaw and K4.42 million from the Amyotha Hluttaw was raised. – Additional reporting by Pyae Thet Phyo and Swan Ye Htut, translation by Win Thaw Tar, Emoon and Khine Thazin Han