Rio de Janeiro, Officials in Brazil have blamed

lack of funding for a huge fire that has ravaged the country’s National


One of the largest anthropology and natural history collections

in the Americas was almost totally destroyed in Sunday’s fire in Rio de


There had been complaints about the dilapidated state of the

museum. “We never had adequate support,” its deputy director said

after the fire.

Presidential candidate Marina Silva also criticised lack of


The fire started on Sunday evening, after the building – a

19th-Century former royal palace – had closed for the day. The cause is

not known.

No injuries have been reported, but most of the 20 million items

the museum contained, including the oldest human remains ever

found in the Americas, went up in flames.

Culture Minister Sergio Sa Leitao said it was a “tragedy that could

have been avoided” but a reconstruction effort would begin.

A third of the 30 exhibition halls were closed because of budget

cuts, local newspaper reported.

A major dinosaur exhibition, which was forced to shut following a

termite attack five months ago, recently reopened only, thanks to a

crowdfunding campaign, the report added.

Museum librarian Edson Vargas da Silva told local media that

the building had wooden floors and contained “a lot of things that burn

very fast”, such as paper documents.

The museum, Brazil’s oldest, is managed by the Federal

University of Rio de Janeiro and the federal government has been

struggling with huge budget imbalances in recent years, the BBC


Source: Oman News Agency