December 15, 2016

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President assesses damage in Bagan

President U Htin Kyaw inspects rubble from a historic pagoda in Bagan which was hit by the earthquake. Photo: Aung Thant Khaing
President U Htin Kyaw inspects rubble from a historic pagoda in Bagan which was hit by the earthquake. Photo: Aung Thant Khaing

PRESIDENT U Htin Kyaw went on an inspection tour of archaeological site in Bagan to assess the damage caused to the spires of ancient stupas and pagodas caused by a 6.8 magnitude earthquake on Wednesday.
The president was accompanied by Union Ministers Lt-Gen Kyaw Swe, Lt-Gen Ye Aung, Dr Pe Myint and U Win Khaing.
At the Bagan Archaeological Museum the president and his entourage were given a briefing on the impact of the quake, an inventory of ancient objects and an explanation of security measures.
Union Minister Thura U Aung Ko and Mandalay Region Chief Minister Dr Zaw Myint Maung gave follow-up briefings on future tasks.
The president pointed out the need to compile an inventory of crumbling religious structures and protect the heritage of ancient objects.
He also urged officials to ensure that pilgrims have right of access to pagodas and stupas that were left undamaged.
“Visitors should be allowed access to the maximum safe area of the damaged pagodas for travel records.” the president said.
He pledged the government’s assistance to the renovation and maintenance of the quake-affected ancient pagodas, adding that the renovation work should maintain the original features with the help of foreign experts.
The president accepted K100 million each donated by the Shwe Thanlwin Company and Zaykabar Company and K50m by the Amazing Hotel Groups for the restoration work.
The Mandalay Region government accepted K200m donated by Kambawza’s Brighter Future Foundation and K30m by MRTV-4.
Officials led the president on the inspection tour which covered Gubyaukgyi, Htilo Minlo, Sulamani, Pyathatgyi, Dhammayangyi and Setanakyi pagodas in Bagan.
According to latest reports, the earthquake rattled at least 187 pagodas in the region. Local authorities, the military, police, fire brigades and residents are engaged in rescue works, clearing piles of bricks from the toppled spires and crumbling temple walls.
According to officials, 33 pagodas and stupas have been closed to pilgrimage due to damage. –Myanmar News Agency

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