27.05.2019 - UNESCO Office in Kabul

UNESCO and the Government of Afghanistan work together to safeguard the Minaret of Jam

27 May 2019 | On May 23rd 2019, the UNESCO Office in Kabul was informed by Madam Hasina Safi, the acting Minister of Information and Culture in Afghanistan, that due to heavy rainfalls in the Ghor Province, the Minaret of Jam, a World Heritage Site in Afghanistan, was possibly threatened by floods.

Located in a remote mountainous area with limited accessibility, at the junction of the Hari-Rud river and Jam-Rud river, the Minaret is often exposed to annual flash-floods, which are liable to have adverse impact on its stability. The Government of Afghanistan with support from UNESCO, has been working on mitigating measures for the protection of the Minaret such as conservation intervention at the base of the Minaret, consolidation of the river banks, geological and hydrological assessments, etc. However, the level of flood and flowing water power observed the 22, 23 and 24 of May, which also affected the local community in the loss of life, livestock, and crops, has been reason for concern for the overall stability of the monument.

Considering the current limited accessibility to the area, it not possible to immediately assess if structural damages have been sustained by the Minaret. The Afghan Government has taken emergency measures in trying to contain the flood by mobilizing approximately 250 local workers. This effort, in addition to the water receding, has helped to divert the water approximately 10 meters away from the Minaret as of 27 May. The water has recessed over the past 48 hours, but due to the isolation of the Minaret, the weather conditions and complex environment around the Minaret, the site remains difficult to access. 

UNESCO has been holding a series of consultations with Ministry of Information and Culture and the Parliament to discuss ways of possible interventions to support and safeguard the Minaret of Jam.



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