Brazil: Government Seeking Funding To Rebuild Museum

The Brazilian government has plans to rebuild the museum that was destroyed by a fire and President Michel Temer has said the country is seeking funding from banks and companies to rebuild it.

The National Museum in Rio de Janeiro was almost destroyed by a fire that began when the building was closed. Museum officials say 90 percent of the collections were lost in the fire. Earlier this week, the president’s office said he had held talks with officials from banks and companies.

The reports say he is looking to rebuild the museum as soon as possible. Education Minister Rossieli Soares recently spoke to reporters and said that the government had set aside $3.6 million to rebuild the museum and restore the collection.

The fire started on Sunday evening and it quickly spread around the building. Authorities are still investigating the cause of the fire but Culture Minister Sergio Leitao told local media that the fire was likely started by a small hot air balloon made out of paper or an electrical fault. The museum was closed at the time of the fire.

Experts rushed to help save parts of the collections on display at the museum. One staff member explained that the doors were locked and that they had to take them down to enter the building.

Staff members were able to save a small percentage of the collections. Emergency teams there helped carry parts of the collections. The expert who helped save some parts of the collections said some of his colleagues had lost a lot.

The fire destroyed most of the building and emergency teams struggled to contain it. The fire hydrants near the building were not operating, according to the city’s fire chief Roberto Robadey. He explained that firefighters had to get water from a lake that is close by.

The fire along with the little help the emergency teams had to try to control it has drawn criticism from staff and residents. Staff blame the funding cuts and its been reported that the building did not have a sprinkler system.

Crowds gathered in front of the museum gates a few hours after the fire. A deputy director of the museum also criticized authorities. He said they had fought years ago to receive resources and preserve everything that was destroyed.

The museum held millions of items and while some have been rescued after the fire, officials estimate that 90 percent of the collection was destroyed.