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Media captionFootage exhibits the large scale of the blaze

Officers in Brazil have blamed lack of funding for an enormous hearth that has ravaged the nation’s Nationwide Museum.

One of many largest anthropology and pure historical past collections within the Americas was nearly completely destroyed in Sunday’s hearth in Rio de Janeiro.

There had been complaints in regards to the dilapidated state of the museum. “We by no means had sufficient assist,” its deputy director stated after the hearth.

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Presidential candidate Marina Silva additionally criticised lack of funding.

“Given the monetary straits of the Federal College of Rio de Janeiro and all the opposite public universities the final three years, this was a tragedy that could possibly be seen coming,” Ms Silva, a left-wing politician standing in subsequent month’s election, tweeted.

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The fireplace began on Sunday night, after the constructing – a 19th-Century former royal palace – had closed for the day. The trigger will not be recognized.

No accidents have been reported, however many of the 20 million objects the museum contained, together with the oldest human stays ever discovered within the Americas, went up in flames.

  • In footage: Brazil nationwide museum in flames
  • Treasure-trove museum – from a meteorite to a 12,000-year-old skeleton
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Brazil’s President Michel Temer said in a tweet that it was a “sad day for all Brazilians” as “200 years of labor, analysis and information have been misplaced”.

Tradition Minister Sa Leitao stated it was a “tragedy that might have been averted” however a reconstruction effort would start.

What are workers saying?

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Workers, who’ve complained about funding cuts, are distraught

A deputy director on the museum, Luiz Fernando Dias Duarte, expressed “immense anger”, and accused Brazilian authorities of a “lack of consideration”.

“We fought years in the past, in several governments, to acquire sources to adequately protect the whole lot that was destroyed right this moment.”

A 3rd of the 30 exhibition halls have been closed due to finances cuts, the Folha de Sao Paulo newspaper says.

A serious dinosaur exhibition, which was pressured to close following a termite assault 5 months in the past, not too long ago reopened solely due to a crowdfunding marketing campaign, the report provides.

Museum librarian Edson Vargas da Silva advised native media that the constructing had wood flooring and contained “loads of issues that burn very quick”, similar to paper paperwork.

Why the shortage of funds?

The museum, Brazil’s oldest, is managed by the Federal College of Rio de Janeiro and the federal authorities has been fighting enormous finances imbalances lately.

The deficit was about 8% of GDP in 2017, solely barely down from a file 10% two years earlier.

However Rio de Janeiro state can also be going through a finances disaster.

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Firefighters have been in a position to retrieve numerous objects from the burning constructing

Roberto Robadey, a spokesman for the Rio hearth division, is quoted by the Related Press information company as saying that the hydrants closest to the museum weren’t working and that firefighters needed to get water from a close-by lake.

A stark metaphor for a metropolis in disaster

By Katy Watson, BBC South America correspondent

This is not simply Brazilian historical past that is gone up in flames. Many see this as a metaphor for town – and the nation as a complete.

Rio de Janeiro is in disaster. Rising violence, a deep financial decline and political corruption have mixed to make town a shadow of what it as soon as was. It was solely in 2016 that it was internet hosting the Olympic Video games – an occasion into which Brazil poured billions of {dollars}.

However the hangover from the sporting occasion has hit Rio laborious. Add to that the truth that federal spending has been slashed, and with violence on the rise, tourism numbers have additionally declined.

This was a museum that many noticed as lengthy ignored and underfunded – now, with devastating penalties for Brazil’s heritage.

What did the museum include?

Its 20m artefacts included fossils, dinosaur bones and a 12,000-year-old skeleton of a lady often known as “Luzia”, the oldest ever found within the Americas.

A spotlight for a lot of was the Bendego meteorite, weighing greater than 5 tonnes and found in Minas Gerais area within the 18th Century.

The constructing was additionally residence to objects overlaying the centuries from the arrival of the Portuguese within the 1500s to the declaration of a republic in 1889.

The ethnology assortment had distinctive items from the pre-Columbian period and artifacts from indigenous cultures.

Items from Greco-Roman occasions and Egypt have been additionally on show on the museum.

Portugal’s royal household transferred the courtroom to the constructing in 1808, when the nation confronted the specter of invasion from Napoleon.

The museum was established in 1818, with the purpose of selling scientific analysis by making its assortment out there to specialists.



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