Millions needed to save Mali's cultural heritage
Timbuktu - United Nations (UN) experts say the cost to salvage northern Mali’s cultural heritage is an estimated $11 million.
UN experts expressed shock at the extent of the damage caused to Timbuktu by Islamist militants.
“The damage is huge and we are going to have to work hard to detail what has happened. But I can say that an action plan to rehabilitate and save the ancient manuscripts, will cost an estimated $11 million,” said UNESCO Mission Chief Lazare Eloundou-Assomo.
The ancient city of Timbuktu is renowned for its historic shrines, artefacts and manuscripts.
For months, Al-Qaeda-linked militants controlled northern Mali, decimating many of the ancient artefacts.
The extent of the damage is shocking and more alarming than initially thought.
“What has been destroyed has been destroyed definitively. It is a part of us that's gone and we need to recharge ourselves, morally speaking, to come to terms with what has happened," said Mali’s Minister of Culture Bruno Maiga.
The city was home to many prized manuscripts from the pre-Islamic era.
Over 4000 of them were destroyed along with fifteen mausoleums, nine of which were UNESCO world heritage sites.
The UN has launched a campaign to restore some of the shrines and manuscripts.