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Tuesday, May 17 • 2:00pm - 2:30pm
(Emergency) Scaling–up First Aid for Cultural Heritage during a Complex Emergency: lessons from Nepal

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Why lose time in training when damage to cultural heritage is widespread and on the ground capacity for response is stretched thin? In the aftermath of the devastating earthquakes of 25th April 20 15, the Department of Archaeology in Nepal had to confront this question, as over one thousand cultural heritage sites had been affected and the less than 100 staff of the Department had to respond. In order to do so they had to enlist the help of civil engineers, craftspeople and local residents while coordinating operations with Nepal army, police, and municipalities, as they were providing the necessary resources for humanitarian as well as cultural assistance. This paper describes the experience of an intensive field training organized in the aftermath of the earthquakes in Nepal. It explains how this “just in time” training helped prepare a national team of cultural first-aiders capable of leading the assessment, stabilization and security of damaged heritage in order to promote early recovery. Organized at the invitation of Nepal’s Department of Archaeology, this initiative set a unique example of inter-agency cooperation for international cultural emergency response as ICCROM, ICOMOS-ICORP, ICOM-DRTF and the Smithsonian Institution joined forces to train a mixed group of over 40 heritage professionals, craftspeople and members of Nepal army and police. To prepare for on-the ground assistance, ICCROM and its partners had set up Kathmandu Cultural Emergency Crowdmap. The information gathered through the crowd-map helped develop a consistent situation analysis, and identify key public as well as private actors engaged in the protection of cultural heritage. Through two workshops, participants developed tailored solutions and workflows for damage assessment, documentation, salvage, and stabilization for cultural collections and heritage buildings. Engaging the local communities in rescuing cultural heritage, identifying priorities for intervention, resource-mobilization and on-going risk management were some of the key issues that were addressed during the on-site work. Analysing the outcomes of the training, the paper will identify broader strategies that could be applied to strengthen local responses in future disaster situations.

avatar for Aparna Tandon

Aparna Tandon

Project Specialist & Coordinator Disaster Risk Management Programme, ICCROM
As the Project Specialist at ICCROM, Ms. Tandon is leading its international capacity development programme on disaster risk management and its flagship training on First Aid to Cultural Heritage in Times of Crisis. Additionally, she is coordinating and developing the activities of... Read More →
avatar for Corine Wegener

Corine Wegener

Cultural Heritage Preservation Officer, Smithsonian Institution
Corine Wegener is Cultural Heritage Preservation Officer in the Office of the Under Secretary for History, Art, and Culture at the Smithsonian Institution. She coordinates Smithsonian’s disaster outreach programs for cultural heritage, including in Syria, Iraq, Egypt, Mali, Haiti... Read More →

Tuesday May 17, 2016 2:00pm - 2:30pm EDT
Room 513 A/C