Wednesday November 30, 2022

Unesco to help recover damaged Mohenjodaro site

By Agencies
September 10, 2022

ISLAMABAD: The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) has announced the mobilisation of an emergency amount of $350,000 to help recover flood-damaged cultural heritage sites.

Around $150,000 to support recovery and prevention measures at Mohenjodaro and Thatta world heritage sites, including long-term mitigation of the impact of natural disasters, and $200,000 funds allocated for cultural heritage, cultural practices and intangible heritage elements at risk in Balochistan, Swat and Larkana districts.

The announcement came just before UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is expected to tour the archaeological site during his visit to Pakistan. He arrived in Islamabad on Friday to express solidarity with flood victims and pledge more support.

Unesco said it was “deeply concerned by severe and unprecedented monsoon rainfall, which has caused widespread flooding” affected around 33 million people and also damaged cultural heritage sites including Mohenjodaro and monuments at Makli, Thatta.

The floods have also impacted Karez in Balochistan, a traditional irrigation system on Pakistan’s world heritage tentative list, the Amri site museum and the Sehwan folk and craft museum, both in the Jamshoro district of Sindh.

Audrey Azoulay, Unesco Director-General, said the organisation would provide assistance to restore this heritage based on the needs analysis conducted by its Islamabad office and has immediately mobilized $350,000 dollars from its heritage and emergency funds.

One of the world’s most ancient planned cities, Mohenjodaro, in the Larkana district of Sindh province, has been damaged by flash floods in Pakistan. The ruins of Mohenjodaro (‘Mound of the Dead’), located near the Indus River, are considered to be the best-preserved urban settlements in South Asia.

“It represents the metropolis of the Indus civilization, which flourished between 2,500-1,500 BC in the Indus Valley and is one of the world’s three great ancient civilizations,” according to Unesco.

After the devastating rains since mid-June, the site’s curator and archaeology department called for urgent attention towards conservation and restoration work at Mohenjodaro. The ruins of the huge city of Mohenjodaro were built entirely of unbaked brick in the 3rd millennium BC.

Experts have raised alarm about the damage to the 4,500-year-old world heritage site and urged the government to protect the ruins that were discovered 100 years ago in 1922. This year makes the centenary of the discovery of Mohenjodaro that was declared a Unesco World Heritage site in 1980.

Abdul Fatah Shaikh, the provincial director of archaeology and museum, says the original structure remains safe but the protective layer suffered a lot of damage which needs immediate conservation.