Bushfires on Easter Island, in Chile, caused severe damage to several moai statues, a trademark in the area, the Chilean authorities reported on Friday (7). The initial estimate is that about 80 monuments were affected by the fire.
“The damage is incalculable and incalculable. It cannot be repaired either, because the fire heats the stone and the cracks in the stone,” said Pedro Edmunds, Mayor of Rapa Nui, as the island is also known. [Parque Nacional Rapa Nui], we will have to go to the island to do the corresponding analysis and find out the extent of the damage and what we will do in the future. I don’t know if there is a solution to that.”
The fire, which destroyed about 100 hectares of the park and is now extinguished, affected the Rano Raraku volcano, reaching the quarry where the ancient indigenous Rapa Nui civilization built the Moai. Because of the local geography, fire engines were unable to reach the area that was engulfed in flames.
“It could have been extinguished […] The fire that broke out in the quarry of the Rano Raraku volcano which, however, has caused irreparable damage to the cultural heritage of mankind “, Gabriel BorekChilean President.
Authorities are studying whether the fire was intentional. The Minister of Agriculture, Esteban Valenzuela, said that “the fire was started by ranchers to open pastures. All signs point to that.”
Edmunds warned of a shortage of guards due to budget cuts amid what he described as “abandonment of the island” by the Chilean government.
“These things that happen in Rapa Nui are dangerous because they damage Chile’s image as a country, but [os incêndios] The mayor said: “The solution is in the hands of an absent state, absent and still absent, and it does not want to hear what the island planned to avoid these problems.”
Easter Island is located more than 3,219 km off the coast of Chile, and was inhabited by Polynesians until it was annexed by Latin Americans in 1888. It is estimated that more than a thousand muai exist in Rapa Nui that were built between 1100 and 1600 by local residents. Today, the statues are considered sacred by the indigenous people of the island.
“For us, it is very painful to see how the moai burned, because it was already damaged by the weather and damaged by rain, wind and sun,” Edmonds said. Rapa Nui National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
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