Three dozen pagodas sustained worst extent of earthquake damage
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