Three dozen pago­das sus­tained worst ex­tent of earth­quake dam­age

The Myanmar Times - - News - EI EI THU eiei­thu@mm­times.com

A RESTORA­TION com­mit­tee led by Vice Pres­i­dent U Myint Swe has iden­ti­fied 36 pago­das badly dam­aged by Au­gust’s earth­quake that are in need of ur­gent re­pairs. A sec­ond group of 53 an­cient build­ings, less badly af­fected, will also un­dergo ren­o­va­tion, as well as 224 oth­ers with rel­a­tively mi­nor dam­age. The com­mis­sion also found that 36 of the 425 dam­aged build­ings re­viewed fol­low­ing the quake had sus­tained only mi­nor cracks.

The 36 most heav­ily stricken build­ings in­clude the Ta Yote Pyay, Gupyuk­gyi, Bu­lalthi, Py­athat­gyi, Say­ta­nar­gyi and Su­la­mani pago­das, whose roofs suf­fered ex­ten­sive dam­age in the 6.8 mag­ni­tude quake.

U Aung Aung Kyaw, di­rec­tor of the De­part­ment of Ar­chae­ol­ogy, Na­tional Mu­seum and Li­brary of Ba­gan, told The Myan­mar Times the re­view had fol­lowed lengthy con­sul­ta­tions.

The de­part­ment’s sur­vey had lo­cated 425 an­cient pago­das and build­ings dam­aged by the pow­er­ful earth­quake, though of these, 36 pago­das did not re­quire ex­ten­sive work.

“Some showed only slight cracks, or are not of great his­tor­i­cal or ar­chi­tec­ture value. We might ask pri­vate donors to pay for their re­pairs,” said U Aung Aung Kyaw, adding that all ren­o­va­tion work would be­gin in Jan­uary.

The fig­ures in­clude a pagoda and an an­cient brick monastery that col­lapsed due to heavy rain in Ba­gan last week.

Any work funded by donors would have to com­ply with rules drawn up by ex­pert con­ser­va­tion­ists, un­der his de­part­ment’s su­per­vi­sion, to en­sure that the re­pairs are of ac­cept­able qual­ity, said U Aung Aung Kyaw.

“An ex­pert team from UNESCO, the lo­cal ar­chi­tects’ team and the govern­ment are dis­cussing the ren­o­va­tion as well as Ba­gan’s ap­pli­ca­tion for World Her­itage sta­tus,” he said.

As of Novem­ber 1, donors have pro­vided nearly K3 bil­lion, of which K100 mil­lion has been tapped for cur­rent preser­va­tion, lo­cal MP U Win Myint Khaing (NLD; NyaungU 1) told The Myan­mar Times.

The Chi­nese govern­ment is of­fer­ing to do­nate for US$1 mil­lion for the restora­tion in Ba­gan said U Aung Aung Kyaw.

De­spite the dam­age caused by the Au­gust 24 quake, the ar­chae­ol­ogy de­part­ment has said it still in­tends to ap­ply for UNESCO World Her­itage Sta­tus at the end of 2017. Ac­cord­ing to the mas­ter plan by the De­part­ment of Ar­chae­ol­ogy, Na­tional Mu­seum and Li­brary and UNESCO ex­perts, the ap­pli­ca­tion will be fol­lowed by an ex­pert in­spec­tion in 2018, and the de­ci­sion on whether or not to ac­cord her­itage sta­tus will be made in 2019

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