The Watch

Disaster Sites of the Caribbean, the Gulf, and Mexico

2018 World Monuments Watch

In August and September 2017, multiple hurricanes and earthquakes struck the Caribbean, the Gulf, and Mexico, causing unprecedented destruction of infrastructure, buildings, and communities. When disaster strikes, the loss of life and property can be devastating for communities and entire societies. Heritage sites often pay a heavy toll, and yet cultural heritage, both tangible and intangible, is a vital force behind community resilience and a key component on the road to recovery. The Disaster Sites of the Caribbean, the Gulf, and Mexico are included on the 2018 Watch with the goal of mobilizing heritage conservation response following the urgent humanitarian measures undertaken in the immediate aftermath.

In many of the countries affected by these natural disasters, damage assessments and plans for immediate repairs and reconstructions are already underway. Local and international architects, planners, and engineers are coming together to determine how to rebuild these devastated communities and the cultural sites they cherish. The Mexican Cultural Institute of New York announced an award to support the conservation of the sixteenth-century San Juan Bautista convent in Cuauhtinchan, a 2006 Watch site located in Puebla and severely affected by the earthquakes. With the inclusion of these affected areas and sites on the 2018 Watch, WMF supports this and other ongoing efforts to help strengthen communities through the conservation of heritage.

Since the Watch

WMF will begin a project in partnership with National Institute of Anthropology and History to address the long-term stability of the Archaeological Zone of Monte Albán and Atzompa, including physical conservation, documentation, and geological assessment. Monte Albán, the most significant archeological site in Mexico's Oaxaca Valley and one of the most important archaeological zones in Mesoamerica was previously included on the 2008 Watch. The earthquake recovery project at the site will also emphasize training and capacity building, giving local technicians the skills they need to effectively repair and prepare the archaeological zone for future natural disasters.

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