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UNESCO warns ancient Pompeii may collapse if nothing is done

March 3, 2014 at 3:18 PM

ROME, March 3 (UPI) -- The head of Italy's UNESCO commission warned Monday Pompeii was "destined to collapse entirely" without extraordinary measures to secure the ancient site.

"We need a plan of action to ensure security in the entire area. Without strong drainage for rainwater, it is clear that Pompeii is destined to collapse entirely," Giovanni Puglisi said after a wall of a Roman-era shop collapsed Monday following heavy rains.

Several days ago, two other sites at ruins of the ancient city near Naples were seriously damaged by the weather, Italian news agency ANSA reported.

Culture Minister Dario Franceschini sought to meet Tuesday about the situation after the collapse of the shop in an area that is closed to the public.

Officials also blamed heavy rains for the recent collapses of a wall in the Temple of Venus and the collapse of a tomb in the necropolis of Porta Nocera, ANSA said.

Franceschini wants to learn why the walls collapsed, get information about maintenance programs and be updated on the Great Project of Pompeii, ANSA said. Among other things, the Great Project of Pompeii includes an injection of $144 million in European Union matching funds to restore Pompeii's deteriorating monuments.

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