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
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