U.S. Committee of the Blue Shield

Debris in the aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami in Japan

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Natural Disasters




Earthquake (April 25, 2015)

Swayambhunath Complex: Also known as the Monkey Temple, the ancient religious complex is now little more than dust.

Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons and AFP


A massive 7.8 magnitude earthquake stuck Nepal at 11:56 a.m. on April 25. Its epicenter was the village of Barpak in the Gorkha district, west of the Kathmandu valley. As of May 6, more than 7000 deaths have been recorded, with many thousands more injured. This tragic loss of life has been accompanied by severe damage to and total destruction of much of Nepal’s cultural heritage, including many of its World Heritage sites. USCBS extends its sympathy to the families of those who have perished as well as to the survivors of this devastating earthquake.


Director-General of UNESCO Irina Bokova has expressed her shock at the devastating impact of the earthquake on Nepal’s cultural heritage.

Cindy Ho, founder of SAFE/Saving Antiquities for Everyone, has asked, “How can we think about cultural heritage when life is lost?” by suggesting that “cultural heritage is the ultimate non-renewable resource.”  See her statement »


Typhoon Haiyan (8 November 2013)

The U.S. Committee of the Blue Shield extends its sympathy to those affected by Typhoon Haiyan, to the victims themselves and their family and friends. While the extent of the devastating loss of life and destruction of property has yet to be determined, it is certain that in the future extraordinary measures will be required to repair damage to the unique cultural heritage of the region, which also suffered from a 7.2 magnitude earthquake that hit Central Visayas on the morning of 15 October 2013. Information on damage to churches that are listed as National Cultural Treasures or National Historical Landmarks is available from Blue Shield International »

U.S. Hurricane Sandy (October 2012)

Hurricane Sandy (unofficially known as "Superstorm Sandy") was the deadliest and most destructive hurricane of the 2012 Atlantic hurricane season, as well as the second-costliest hurricane in United States history. Classified as the eighteenth named storm, tenth hurricane and second major hurricane of the year, Sandy was a Category 3 storm at its peak intensity when it made landfall in Cuba. While it was a Category 2 storm off the coast of the Northeastern United States, the storm became the largest Atlantic hurricane on record (as measured by diameter, with winds spanning 1,100 miles (1,800 km). Estimates as of March 2014 assess damage to have been over $68 billion (2013 USD), a total surpassed only by Hurricane Katrina. At least 286 people were killed along the path of the storm in seven countries.


Earthquake and tsunami (11 March 2011) 

The Japan and Pacific 2011 Blue Shield Solidarity group on Facebook contains links to information about libraries, museums, archives and other cultural institutions affected by the devastating 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan. Blue Shield expresses its solidarity with all colleagues, the Japanese people, and all people in the Pacific area affected by this disaster. The community mobilizes itself to provide as much help as needed. Join this group, and keep in touch with news about cultural heritage and damaged institutions.



Earthquake (12 January 2010) 

The catastrophic earthquake that struck Haiti on January 12, 2010, killed more than 250,000 people, left over 1.5 million homeless and destroyed much of the nation’s infrastructure. It also devastated Haiti’s rich cultural heritage. Historic buildings, museums, libraries, archives, galleries, churches, theaters, artists' workshops and marketplaces were damaged and ruined.

The Haiti Cultural Recovery Project works to rescue, recover, safeguard and help restore Haitian artwork, artifacts, documents, media and architectural features damaged and endangered by the earthquake of 2010 and its aftermath.

More information »


Corine Wegener, U.S. Committee of the Blue Shield, “Smithsonian Delegation to Haiti Report" March 6-8, 2010 »

Haiti Blue Shield Committee recognized. 28 May 2010 »
Blue Shield statement on Haiti. 14 January 2010 »