Many historic icons face same threats as Notre Dame
Hundreds of cultural sites cherished around the world are unprepared for fires and similar dangers, experts warn.
As France’s most famous cathedral burned, people around the world paused, horrified by footage of the catastrophic fire. Now they’re breathing a sigh of relief with news that firefighters managed to save much of Notre Dame de Paris from the flames.
But the fire has ignited a longstanding debate about how best to protect cultural heritage sites—places that too often lack adequate defenses against a range of disasters.
“Many World Heritage properties do not have any established policy, plan or process for reducing risks associated with disasters,” UNESCO writes. “As a result, hundreds of sites are critically exposed to potential hazards.”
Those hazards, which range from fire to flood, climate change to conflict, have wiped out many of the world’s