The international art community came forward to help Lebanon after the deadly explosions in the capital earlier this month.
The International Alliance for the Protection of Heritage in Conflict Areas (ALIPH), which is based in Geneva, is spearheading the project to collect $5 million in aid. The aim of the project is to help rebuild and stabilize Beirut’s cultural heritage which suffered significant damage in the explosions. Currently, there are 20 cultural organizations that would benefit from the relief package. One of them is the National Museum in Beirut, which would be rebuilt by a collaboration of the Louvre Museum and the Directorate of Antiquities in Lebanon.
The explosions on August 4 in Beirut left 200 people dead and 5000 wounded. More than 300,000 people were left homeless. The explosions also caused significant damage to museums, libraries, and heritage sites. According to a study conducted by the Lebanese Directorate, more than 650 cultural heritage sites were damaged by the event. One of the worst-hit areas was the Gemmayzeh district near Beirut’s port. National Museum and Sursock Museum were harmed by the explosions, among many others.
The relief project was first announced on August 11 when 30 international cultural institutions came forward in a statement of solidarity. These included the Global Heritage Fund, UNESCO, World Monuments Fund, Louvre, and ICOM. The $5 million relief fund by ALIPH is the first step in the project, though more are expected to arrive.
In an announcement about the fund, Valéry Freland (Executive Director, ALIPH) gave the following statement:
“Beyond these emergency measures, we must also work with the international community and the Lebanese people on the sustainable rehabilitation of entire neighborhoods: this will require more time and resources.”