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Subject: Tsunami


From: Cristina Menegazzi <menegazzi<-a>
Date: Thursday, January 20, 2005
    As the catastrophic effects of the tsunami and the earthquake in
    Asia and the Indian Ocean are still being assessed, ICOM is
    ready to act and to contribute its expertise to the recovery of
    damaged cultural heritage in those countries. Our first
    objective has been to obtain information on the damage to
    cultural heritage in the area (see below) but we have had to
    approach this task with sensitivity, as the humanitarian and
    health needs were, and still are staggering. Before raising
    public awareness, the Secretariat has, therefore, decided to
    monitor the situation and identify the most propitious moment to
    mobilize efforts and direct resources.

    Since Alissandra Cummins' message posted on ICOM-L, the
    Secretariat has focused on articulating the most meaningful and
    effective response possible - a task made substantially easier
    thanks to invaluable suggestions and information continuously
    provided by our President, and by ICOM members, Chairs of
    National and International Committees, members of partner NGOs,
    international agencies, and ICOM-L subscribers.

    The information received so far is still scarce. (The little
    that is available will be posted on our Disaster Relief Web site
    <URL:> and indicating that
    museums in India, Thailand, and Malaysia were not affected) This
    information is not sufficient to begin drawing up and proposing
    concrete relief projects. However, as soon as more data is
    received, ICOM will be able to advise survey teams possibly
    formed in conjunction with our partner agencies (ICBS, ICOMOS,
    ICCROM, UNESCO...) to carry out detailed damage assessment
    studies and thus prioritize needs and propose corresponding
    concrete recovery actions.

    ICOM needs to ensure adequate funding for essential actions -
    public awareness campaigns in the media, surveys, relief
    projects, post facto capacity building programs, etc. - and
    will, therefore, launch an effort to obtain resources  - via
    National and International Committees, the membership at large,
    funding agencies and individual contributions. A special account
    is being set up in Paris, to be immediately applied towards
    cultural heritage recovery efforts in the tsunami-stricken
    region, as well as later emergency prevention and response
    capacity building activities. This fund will also be applied in
    the future to address cultural heritage affected by natural
    disasters, warfare, and civil strife. The corresponding
    information will be disseminated on ICOM's home page and on the
    Disaster Relief Web site. We wish to thank all those who have
    already expressed the desire to contribute to this Disaster
    Relief Fund.

    A Disaster Relief Task Force will be entrusted with the
    coordination and oversight of all these efforts. Its members
    will contribute their experience, expertise and contacts. The
    Task force, to be constituted this week, will work closely with
    the Secretariat Tsunami Devastation Response team, and will
    regularly inform on the development of the situation on the
    corresponding Web site.

    In closing, Alissandra Cummins, the entire Secretariat and I
    wish to thank you for your generous show of support and
    solidarity with the victims of this appalling natural disaster,
    and for assisting us in implementing the best response to the
    situation in Asia and in the Indian Ocean.

    John S. Zvereff
    Secretary General

Summary of actions taken and in progress

    *   Information gathering, information sharing and distribution

    *   Identification of museums in the affected areas

    *   Design of a Disaster Reporting form

    *   Identification of damage response tools

    *   Research and compilation of an extensive bibliography on
        Damage Response and on Emergency preparedness

    *   Identification of links to international relief agencies

    *   Coordination of survey efforts with partner NGOs and
        international agencies

    *   The offer of full subsidies for pending membership dues from
        the present ICOM Fund for institutions and National
        Committees with museums affected by the Tsunamis and

    *   Creation of a permanent Disaster Relief Fund, initially
        devoted exclusively to the Tsunami-devastated region

    *   Development of an International Museum Damage Relief Day
        fundraising proposal

    *   Design of a user-friendly Disaster Relief Web site that will
        become a permanent communication tool

    *   Refocusing/adapting as many activities as possible to
        address the needs created by the recent catastrophe

    *   Encouraging museum-to-affected museum partnerships once
        damage and needs have been assessed.

Cristina Menegazzi
ICOM programme Specialist
+33 1 47349159

                  Conservation DistList Instance 18:32
                Distributed: Saturday, January 22, 2005
                       Message Id: cdl-18-32-002
Received on Thursday, 20 January, 2005

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