The ICOMOS, a global monument and cultural heritage conservation body, has launched an initiative to assess the damage to the rich cultural and built heritage in flood-devastated Kerala and set up an emergency response platform.
The International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) is a prestigious non-government organisation dedicated to promoting the application of theory, methodology and scientific techniques for conservation of architectural and archaeological heritage across the world.
“We launched the Kerala Heritage Rescue Initiative yesterday as the heritage in the flood-ravaged state is indeed damaged. We are also seeking support from the state government, the NDMA (National Disaster Management Authority) and reaching out to local conservation professionals,” said Vice President, ICOMOS, Rohit Jigyasu.
The initiative also aims at setting up a platform for emergency response to the cultural heritage damaged by the floods in Kerala.
“We have also set up a Facebook page to collect information on the damage to buildings, museum collections, cultural artefacts, libraries, archives, and even intangible heritage,” he said.
Jigyasu, a conservation and disaster risk management professional, who also holds the post of ICOMOS-India president, said, “Letters have been sent to the Kerala government and various other stakeholders, the response has been positive so far.”
Kerala is facing its worst floods in nearly a century that has left 223 dead in a fortnight and forced over 10 lakh people out of their homes. The Centre has declared this calamity of ‘severe nature’.
“While in the immediate aftermath of this disaster, rescue and relief are the utmost priority, it is also important to start preparations for assessing the damage and risks to the rich tangible, intangible, movable and immovable heritage that has been adversely affected by these floods, including monuments, historic buildings, museum collections and artefacts of significance to the community,” Jigyasu said.
ICOMOS is also an advisory body to the UNESCO for cultural heritage, in particular for implementation of the World Heritage Convention.