Iconic Easter Island statues damaged in wildfire
SANTIAGO, Oct 7 – On Friday, the mayor of Easter Island said that many of the island’s iconic ‘Moai’ stone statues had been burned beyond repair in a wildfire earlier this week.
“It’s unquantifiable, unmeasurable, the damage there is, it’s irrecoverable,” said Pedro Edmunds, mayor of Easter Island, a territory of Chile. “Because what the fire does is heat the rock and the rock cracks.”
He said that scientists will be accompanying park administrators on their visit to the island so they can assess the damage and figure out what needs to be done.
“I don’t know if there’s a solution for this,” Edmunds said.
Chile’s culture, arts and heritage ministry released a preliminary report that stated that on Tuesday, 60 hectares (148.26 acres) were swept by a wildfire which caused damage to an unknown number of the sacred Moai statues.
The cause of the wildfire is still unknown and under investigation, according to the report.
The Rano Raraku volcanic crater, which is home to several statues and part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Rapa Nui National Park, was severely damaged by fire.
“For us it’s super painful to see how the Moai burned,” said Francisco Haoa, a representative of the Rapa Nui people, adding that the statues already face slow damage from rain, sun and wind.
“And the fire accelerates that damage to the Moais.”
So what could have caused this island wide fire? Dutchsinse has some interesting theories!
Click below to hear his thoughts on Easter Island.
Easter Island, more than 2,000 kilometers from the coast of Chile, has re-opened to visitors on August 1 after closing its borders for over two years due to the coronavirus epidemic.
Carolina Perez, subsecretary of Chile’s culture, arts and heritage ministry said on Twitter that the government was offering its support to the mayor. Edmunds blamed a lack of government support for the damage.
“The solution is in the hands of an absent state, that has been absent and is still absent,” Edmunds said. “And doesn’t want to listen to the island that’s planned to prevent these problems.”