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December 10, 2018

Restoration of Bagan’s quake-hit pagodas needs to minimize damages in disasters: VP U Myint Swe

Vice President U Myint Swe on an inspection tour of Bagan cultural region.  Photo: MNA

Vice President U Myint Swe called for taking into account the possible potential damages to pagodas in Bagan in possible future disasters when the quake-hit pagodas are restored.
“When we carry out restoration and conservation, it is necessary to formulate a four-year plan with step by step approach as part of efforts for preventing damages caused by possible disasters,” said Vice President U Myint Swe at the third meeting of the leading committee for restoration and conservation of the pagodas in Bagan.
The Vice President also stressed the need to conserve the pagodas without damaging their original architectural designs through coordination between ministries concerned and local and foreign experts.
“When earthquake-hit pagodas and religious edifices are renovated and restored, we are working together with the UNESCO so that the Bagan cultural heritage zone can meet the standards for the World Heritage List,” said U Myint Swe.
A total of 389 pagodas were damaged by a 6.8 magnitude earthquake on 24 August 2016 and emergency restoration work on the pagodas completed within four months after the disaster.


A total of 325 earthquake-hit pagodas have been restored and conserved so far in two years, 21 are under conservation and 43 remained to be restored.
Following the earthquake, local and foreign experts set priorities for renovation and restoration of damaged pagodas: 36 pagodas to be renovated as the first priority, 53 as the second priority and 76 as the third priority, and minor restoration for 224 in all.
There has not been such an earthquake in Bagan since July 1975.
The Bagan Ancient Cultural Zone, where over 3,000 ancient pagodas and religious edifices can be seen in one place, has been in existence for more than one thousand years, and it is one of the tourist attractions of Myanmar.
The leading committee chaired by Vice President U Myint Swe was formed under the notification issued by the Office of the President on 29 September 2016, with a view to preserving ruins of damaged pagodas and religious edifices operates with two working committees and five sub-committees.
Duties of the committee include giving protection to damaged pagodas to prevent from any more damage, making arrangements for pilgrims to pay homage to pagodas safely and making consultations with experts and architects to preserve the pagodas without damaging their original architectural design.
Until now, donation money for the restoration and conservation up to 30 September 2018 reached over Ks 4.6 billion, US$1.1million, Thai Baht 10820, Singapore $ 7250, Japan Yen 30000 and other kinds of currencies.
The Vice President also urged the authorities concerned to use the donations systematically under the supervision of the officially formed committee.
Following his address, Union Minister for Religious Affairs and Culture Thura U Aung Ko reported on the situation of step-by-step restoration of the pagodas, fund, submission of application for putting the Bagan cultural zone in the UNESCO list and sustainable development in Bagan.
Union Minister for Home Affairs Lt-Gen Kyaw Swe reported on providing security to tourists in Bagan and Union Minister for Border Affairs Lt-Gen Ye Aung on plans for providing machinery for restoration and renovation of pagodas, if required.
Afterwards, Union Minister for Information Dr. Pe Myint reported on releasing information in timely manner with regard to renovation and restoration of pagodas and requirements for producing documentary about prevention of pagodas in Bagan from damages in disasters and to promote Bagan in the eyes of the world.
Union Minister for Construction U Han Zaw reported on completion of the restoration and renovation of the quake-hit pagodas and future plans for minimizing damages in disasters.
Mandalay Region Chief Minister Dr. Zaw Myint Maung reported on the situation of the pagodas which are under construction, preparation of collecting list of weak pagodas and recommendations on the pagodas.
Local architectural experts also reported on their work together with foreign experts to restore and conserve the pagodas, view mount and cleanliness in Bagan.
Ten resolutions were made at the meeting.
Following the meeting, Vice President U Myint Swe inspected restoration and renovation of quake-hit pagodas.

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