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Culture cannot wait. Both ICCROM and the Prince Claus Fund stand by this belief. In 2010, ICCROM launched the First Aid to Cultural Heritage in Times of Crisis course together with the Italian Ministry of Culture and several other partners. This expanded to include the Smithsonian Institution and the Prince Claus Fund, which has been instrumental in strengthening the network of “cultural first aiders” and funding participant initiatives so as to ensure that positive outcomes multiply. This book is intended to codify the First Aid processes and further stimulate research, activity and awareness. The creators of this book are cognisant of the fact that every emergency teaches us a new lesson and enables us to continue closing gaps in knowledge and practice. The information represents multiple points of view in an attempt to spark inclusive discussions on this subject and broaden the conversation. Without a doubt, disaster risk reduction is a development question. Our hope is that this Handbook and Toolkit, with their practical suggestions, will open new pathways for preserving culture that start with development and end with resilience. Webber Ndoro Director-General, ICCROM Joumana El Zein Khoury Director, Prince Claus Fund for Culture and Development 6 First Aid to Cultural Heritage in Times of Crisis | 1. Handbook PREFACE Why safeguard cultural heritage amidst a humanitarian crisis? Culture cannot wait. Barely one month after the devastating earthquakes of 2015, worshippers and flower sellers could be seen amongst the rubble of fallen temples in the historic Durbar Square of Kathmandu, Nepal. Braving the aftershocks, they were there to seek solace in everyday religious rituals and resume their normal practices – making it clear that, in order to reduce the vulnerability of the Nepalese people to future earthquakes, it is the ancient temples and city squares of Nepal that must be secured and stabilised first. A year later, while conducting post-earthquake search and rescue operations, firefighters in Italy assisted the local community in evacuating a painting of the Madonna Addolorata – the Grieving Madonna – from a church in Norcia before it collapsed completely in a subsequent earthquake two months later. The firefighters prioritised the rescue of the painting because they understood that, for the people of Norcia, the Madonna symbolised continuity and resilience, as she was known to have survived previous earthquakes.