WASHINGTON, DC.- In the wake of the devastating tsunami that caused destruction, havoc, and terrible loss of life on coastlines around the Indian Ocean, reports of damage to museums and historic sites are beginning to trickle in. The world museum community is mobilizing to assess the needs of museums and cultural sites in the area and respond with assistance once their immediate requirements are known.
The International Council of Museums in Paris will coordinate reports of damage and needs and circulate them to the international museum community. "ICOM will seek to establish the status of museums and museums workers in the countries affected and give priority to establishing a coordinated relief programme to safeguard the heritage of the region,” said ICOM President Alissandra Cummins in a statement.
AAM will communicate news of museum and cultural heritage needs to the American museum community as soon as it becomes available. U.S. museums will then be asked to work directly with ICOM to provide aid and assistance to affected countries.
“We extend out heartfelt condolences to the people of Burma, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India, Maldives, Bangladesh, Somalia, Kenya, Tanzania, and all other communities affected by this terrible disaster,” said Edward H. Able, Jr., AAM President and CEO. “Our thoughts are with the victims and those working to relieve their suffering. In the weeks to come, we will stay in contact with the regional and international organizations best placed to identify the needs of museums and heritage professionals in the affected areas as they recover and rebuild.”