Notre Dame Fire: Billionaires Pledged To Rebuild Cathedral
France's President Emmanuel Macron called out on people to donate so they can rebuild the Notre Dame Cathedral and less than a day after he made the plea announcement, the pledges started coming in. And those were not simple donations because they already raised over €600 million.
The Notre Dame Cathedral caught fire on Monday and most of the oldest parts of the structure were burned down. In particular, the building's spire had collapsed and it now has a gaping hole on the roof.
Experts stated that the restoration works for the cathedral will take years or even decades since the designs were intricate and renovating a nearly millennium-old church edifice with great historical value requires a lot of work.
Stephane Bern, an expert on Medieval France and government heritage representative told Agence France Presse that based on estimation, the rebuilding of the Notre Dame Cathedral will take a minimum of 10 to 20 years.
The UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azoulay also relayed to the media that works to protect the church's 12th Century wood and stone structure from water damage would begin immediately.
She said that the first 24 or 48 hours will be crucial to the Notre Dame Cathedral's future so the works will start as soon as possible. In the UNESCO's website, Azoulay further relayed that they are assessing the damage already.
"We are already in contact with experts to assess the damage, preserve what can be preserved and consider measures in the short and medium term," she said.
"The assessment would be undertaken with the authorities concerned, including national, local, site management and Church authorities to develop an appropriate plan in order to avoid further damaging the site and to recover as much as possible of the original elements."
In any case, those who already announced donations include a list of France's wealthiest companies and individuals like François-Henri Pinault, the CEO of Kering group that owns luxury brands such as Gucci and Yves Saint Laurent. Pinault stated that his family will pledge $113 million or €100 million.
Pinault stated his family's intent to donate via Twitter. "My father (François Pinault) and I have decided to release as of now from the funds of Artemis a sum of 100 million euros to participating in the effort that will be necessary for the complete reconstruction of Notre Dame," he tweeted.
The biggest pledge so far came from the Arnault family who owns the LVMH, makers of the famous Louis Vuitton brands. They will donate $226 million or €200 million to demonstrate their support to the national tragedy.
In a note of commitment issued by the Arnault family, they said, "The Arnault family and the LVMH Group, in solidarity with this national tragedy, are committed to assisting with the reconstruction of this extraordinary cathedral, the symbol of France, its heritage and its unity."
Finally, Fox News reported that Apple also joined the list of billionaires that pledged donations to rebuild the Notre Dame Cathedral that was severely damaged by fire. But then again, how much the American tech company is donating was not revealed.