UNESCO offers assistance in wake of deadly Moroccan minaret collapse

Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO

21 February 2010 – The head of the United Nations Educational, Cultural and Scientific Organization (UNESCO) today offered the agency's support following a deadly minaret collapse in Meknes, a World Heritage site, in central Morocco.

According to media reports, 41 people were killed when the structure collapsed as hundreds of people attended a prayer service on 19 February.

“I am deeply saddened by the tragic loss of life of people who had gathered to worship at the mosque,” UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova said in a press release.

“As immediately indicated by His Majesty the King, this fatality will be responded to with a review of the condition of Morocco's ancient mosques,” she said, adding that UNESCO supports the swift measures taken by the country to prevent further risks in this and other sites.

The agency stands ready to dispatch experts from around the world to help speed up the diagnostic process and is already in touch with Moroccan authorities to jointly identify the most urgent actions that need to be taken.

Meknes, founded in the 11th century, was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1996.

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