RPT - Notre Dame Tragedy Shows Iconic Monuments Require Better Response Plans - US Non-Profit

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RPT - Notre Dame Tragedy Shows Iconic Monuments Require Better Response Plans - US Non-Profit

WASHINGTON (UrduPoint News / Sputnik - 17th April, 2019) All important world landmarks must have better early detection and response plans in place after the devastating fire at the Notre Dame cathedral in Paris, president of the Alliance for the Restoration of Cultural Heritage (ARCH International) Cheryl Benard told Sputnik on Tuesday.

"The important thing for all iconic monuments is to put in place a much faster and better early detection and response plan," Benard said. "Obviously things went badly wrong here or the fire would not have spread so quickly ... Don't take your historic treasures for granted, and learn to love and respect those of other people too. This is really a common thing that we all share as human beings, the appreciation for beautiful things and the connection to our history."

A massive fire broke out at Notre Dame on Monday evening, causing the collapse of the cathedral's spire and two-thirds of its roof. The blaze was fully extinguished only on Tuesday morning. French President Emmanuel Macron has described the incident as a "terrible tragedy" and promised to rebuild the 850-year-old cathedral.

"The images of local citizens and tourists watching the unfolding drama and spontaneously praying and singing together, showed once again the depth of feeling that people have towards their special structures and monuments," Benard stressed. "We work with people in less known places, who feel exactly the same way such as in Iraq (Nineveh Province), where we are helping the locals rescue the shrine of a biblical prophet, that is located in the middle of their town, Alqosh, or townspeople in Greece who are protecting 'their' bronze age underwater city."

The cause of the Paris blaze remains unclear but may have been linked to renovation work.

Paris Prosecutor Remy Heitz told reporters on Tuesday that nothing has been uncovered that speaks of a premeditated action.

European Parliament President Antonio Tajani suggested earlier on Tuesday that the members of the EU legislature collect funds for the restoration of the Notre Dame cathedral.

In addition, the French heritage foundation and the US-based French Heritage Society began fund-raising campaigns soon after the fire to help rebuild the landmark cathedral. French billionaire Francois-Henri Pinault has, in turn, pledged in a statement to donate together with his father as much as 100 million Euros (over $113 million) for the reconstruction of Notre Dame.

"Hundreds of millions of Dollars have already been pledged for the restoration. While this was a tragic event, the best experts and all necessary resources will definitely be available," Benard said.

Macron said in an address to the nation on Tuesday that the Notre Dame cathedral would hopefully be rebuilt within five years.

Macron praised firefighters and said he was convinced that the French people could mobilize in the face of this tragedy. Pledges of donations have been pouring in since Tuesday morning. Russian President Vladimir Putin said his country's experts were ready to help with renovation.

The fire took some of the invaluable treasures preserved at the cathedral. The extent of the damage is still being assessed. Sneska Quaedvlieg-Mihailovic, the head of Europa Nostra, a leading pan-European federation for cultural heritage, told Sputnik the tragedy should raise awareness of the need to invest in historical sites.

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