Incas valley, Yazidi shrine: foundation warns of threatened sites

New York (AFP) –


From the Sacred Valley of the Incas, threatened by a proposed airport, to a Yazidi shrine in Iraq, a foundation warned Tuesday of 25 sites in urgent need of protection.

Unveiling its watch list for 2020, the World Monuments Fund highlighted locations in 21 countries, including Chile's Easter Island, which is home to renowned rock carvings created by indigenous people.

WMF said in a statement that the sites "are facing daunting threats such as encroaching urbanization, political turmoil, natural disaster, and violent conflicts, or present compelling conservation opportunities."

It referenced Paris's Notre-Dame cathedral, which was badly damaged in a fire this year, and the San Antonio Woolworth Building in Texas, significant in the African-American civil rights movement but threatened by a redevelopment plan.

The non-governmental organization said Peru's Sacred Valley near Machu Picchu was in danger because of plans to build a new airport and noted that rebuilding a destroyed shrine in Iraq would honor the minority Yazidi community.

WMF also singled out Bears Ears National Monument in Utah, land sacred to indigenous North Americans, and the Gingerbread neighborhood of Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

The New York-based foundation works with local partners to help preserve ancient and culturally significant sites around the globe.

WMF, with the support of its main financial backer American Express, says it has contributed $110 million to help maintain more than 800 sites since 1996.