The Egyptian Heritage Rescue Foundation has said disaster preparedness is key to the conservation and preservation of cultural heritage sites.
The foundation has since urged the Malawi government to come up with deliberate mechanisms to rescue cultural heritage sites in times of natural and/or man-made disasters.
The foundation’s chairman AbdelHamid Salah Elshareif was speaking in Lilongwe on Monday on the sidelines of the official opening of a week-long national workshop on the first aid to culture heritage.
Elshareif is one of the facilitators at the workshop aimed to impart and equip the local staff with knowledge and the right skills for preparing for disasters, protecting, conserving and caring for national and cultural heritage sites.
He explained: “Disaster always happens. Whether it’s man-made or coming from natural disasters like volcano or tsunami, whatever.
“So, if you don’t know how to prepare for such a disaster and how to intervene to protect and to provide first aid to the cultural heritage, you cannot handle the recovery process in a good way.”
Elshareif said disaster recovery ‘takes the whole time and more money’ and a country risks losing its cultural assets; hence, the need to put in measures that will ensure cultural heritage sites are protected in case of disasters.
“[So], you need to know exactly [what’s] the right methodology of protecting the cultural heritage from the disaster and damage. Otherwise, you lose what you have.
“After this workshop, I expect the professionals to form a network to make a national strategy to protect and mitigate the disaster effects,” he enthused.
In his remarks, deputy secretary for the Ministry of Civic Education, Culture and Community Development Symon Maliko said Malawi faces a number of disasters, which pose a serious challenge to efforts to conserve and preserve cultural heritage sites.
Maliko cited floods, earthquakes and bushfires as some of the disasters that have proven to be a danger towards efforts of preserving and conserving cultural assets.