Issued on: 15/04/2020 – 11:45Modified: 15/04/2020 – 11:45
On the first anniversary Wednesday of the devastating blaze that ripped through Notre-Dame Cathedral, there are no builders on site and the scientists involved are working from home. FRANCE 24 investigates how the coronavirus is affecting the reconstruction of the 850-year-old monument.
The construction site engulfing Pariss Notre-Dame Cathedral stands silent, all restoration and rubble-clearing stopped in its tracks on the first anniversary of the blaze.
Before Frances coronavirus lockdown, around 100 workers were present at the site: engineers, architects, archaeologists and scientists. But since March 16 only a security team guards the entrance while a weekly visit by the public body overseeing the restoration ensures that everything is in order.
The day before the anniversary of the fire, Jean-Louis Georgelin, the French general and former military chief of staff appointed by President Emmanuel Macron to oversee the restoration, toured the restricted zone.
“We will restart work as soon as we can,” he told FRANCE 24, adding that coronavirus protection measures would have to be assessed “extremely carefully” to protect the employees and experts from across France who are working on the reconstruction. “We have to be sure they are protected and not exposed to this damned virus in a way that could threaten their health at either their accommodations [in Paris] or on site.”
EN NW PKG F24 NOTRE DAME VS CORONAVIRUS 00H
The first employees to get back to work would be those tasked with dismantling the nearly 300 tonnes of burned and broken scaffolding on the Cathedral, said Georgelin. Originally in place to repair the roof, the fire turned the scaffolding into 40,000 pieces of mangled metal that threaten to destabilise Notre-Dames structure if they fall on any of the weakened walls. Only after they are painstakingly removed will the Cathedral be out of danger, although Georgelin said he is optimistic.
“We now have a years worth of experience to draw on. We have taken measurements all around the Cathedral and we can see that it has not moved any more than youd expect for a gothic structure of this size,” he said, adding that he expects the scaffolding to be taken down by mid-summer.
Asked about the ambitious five-year timeline set by French President Emmanuel Macron to reopen Notre-Dame by 2024 (the year France is due to host the summer Olympics), Georgelin said simply: “We will have to roll up our sleeves and get to work.”
Meanwhile, many of the other specialists who were working on Notre-Dame will continue working from home. Experts from the Historical Monuments Research Laboratory (Laboratoire Read More – Source