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UNESCO calls for international help to save cultural sites damaged by floods

UNESCO calls for international help to save cultural sites damaged by floods

The head of the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has called on the international community to help save the cultural heritage sites in several European towns damaged by the recent floods.

"I am appalled by the tragedy currently affecting much of Europe, particularly by the heavy loss of human lives and great human suffering incurred," UNESCO Director-General Koïchiro Matsuura said in a statement released Friday. "I pledge that we will do all within our power to help preserve the region's damaged treasures, which are vital to the memory of humanity and to the identity of the numerous communities rooting in the region."

Mr. Matsuura said that while UNESCO and its World Heritage Centre would lend all the technical and financial assistance within its means to help restore cultural heritage damaged by the floods, its financial means were limited.

"We hope that the international community will extend its assistance to the countries affected for the rehabilitation of their heritage and that it will work in consultation with UNESCO where sites inscribed on the World Heritage List are concerned," he said.

Of particular concern to the Organization was the damage caused to the historic centres of Prague and Cesky Krumlov, in the Czech Republic, as well as those in Vienna and Salzburg, Austria, Mr. Matsuura said. Other damaged sites include those in the cities of Dessau and Dresden, both in Germany.