World leaders express shock and horror over Notre-Dame blaze

World leaders expressed their shock, horror and dismay over the fire ravaging Notre-Dame cathedral on Monday evening.

World leaders express shock and horror over Notre-Dame blaze
Photo: AFP
President Emmanuel Macron cancelled a major televised policy speech he was due to give on Monday evening over the “terrible fire ravaging Notre-Dame.”
He headed to the scene in person.
In a tweet he expressed the “emotion of a whole nation” on seeing Notre-Dame ablaze.
“Like all my compatriots I am sad to see a part of us burn this evening” he said, expressing solidarity with “all Catholics and all French people.”

IN VIDEO: Watch the moment Notre-Dame's spire collapses

“Notre Dame belongs to the whole of humanity. It has inspired writers, painters. philosophers and visitors who have come from all round the world,” said EU Commission head Jean Claude Juncker
EU Council president Donald Tusk added: “Notre Dame of Paris is Notre Dame of the whole of Europe, We are all with Paris today.”
British Prime Minister Theresa May expressed her thoughts for the people of France and emergency services battling a devastating fire that has engulfed the Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris on Monday.
“My thoughts are with the people of France tonight and with the emergency services who are fighting the terrible blaze at Notre-Dame Cathedral,” the British leader tweeted.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel called Notre-Dame cathedral a “symbol of European culture” as the blaze raged.
There was no immediate indication of any casualties in the blaze.
“The Paris fire service is trying to control the flames,” Paris's Mayor Anne Hidalgo wrote on Twitter, asking residents to respect the security cordon thrown up around the site.
A spokesperson for the cathedral said the fire, which comes as French Catholics prepare to celebrate Easter, broke out at around 1650 GMT.
US President Donald Trump in a tweet said: “So horrible to watch the massive fire at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. Perhaps flying water tankers could be used to put it out. Must act quickly!”
What we know so far about how the fire at Notre-Dame started
The United Nations' cultural agency said Monday that it “stood at France's side to save and restore” Notre-Dame cathedral, “a priceless heritage”.
Audrey Azoulay, secretary general of UNESCO, said the agency was monitoring the effort to put out the blaze, which consumed the iconic church's spire as flames spread across the roof.
Notre-Dame was added to UNESCO's world heritage list in 1991, Azoulay added in a tweet.
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan tweeted: “Heartbreaking scenes of Notre Dame cathedral in flames. London stands in sorrow with Paris today, and in friendship always.”
The Vatican on Monday expressed its “incredulity” and “sadness” over a major fire engulfing the Notre-Dame cathedral in Paris, which it called “a symbol of Christianity in France and across the world”.
“We express our closeness with French Catholics and with the Parisian population. We pray for the firefighters and for all those who are trying their best to tackle this dramatic situation,” a spokesman said in a statement.

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Notre-Dame restoration work begins as Paris cathedral on track to reopen in 2024

France's Notre-Dame cathedral is finally ready to undergo restoration work more than two years after a blaze ravaged the heritage landmark, and remains on course to reopen in 2024, authorities said Saturday, following months of painstaking work to secure the building.

Notre-Dame restoration work begins as Paris cathedral on track to reopen in 2024

The great mediaeval edifice survived the inferno on April 15th, 2019, but the spire collapsed and much of the roof was destroyed.

The focus until now had been on making the cathedral safe before restoration work could begin, which included the strenuous task of removing 40,000 pieces of scaffolding that were damaged in the blaze.

“The cathedral stands solid on its pillars, its walls are solid, everything is holding together,” said Jean-Louis Georgelin, head of the public entity tasked with rebuilding the cathedral.

Scaffolding in the interior of the building as the restoration phase begins. Photo by Thomas SAMSON / POOL / AFP

“We are determined to win this battle of 2024, to reopen our cathedral in 2024. It will be France’s honour to do so and we will do so because we are all united on this goal.”

The aim is to celebrate the first full service in the cathedral on April 16th, 2024 – five years after the fire – despite delays caused by the pandemic and the lead that spread during the blaze.

The Notre-Dame spire, a later addition to the medieval building, was completely destroyed in the blaze. Photos by AFP

Authorities will now call for tenders to select the companies to carry out the restoration work.

The cathedral’s interior walls and floors will also undergo “a thorough cleaning process” later this month.

Notre-Dame’s famous Grand Organ is already being restored, with its 8,000 pipes dismantled and sent to organ builders all over France.

It is expected to be put together again in October 2023, said Georgelin, the former head of France’s armed forces who was appointed by President Emmanuel Macron to oversee rebuilding efforts.