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Donors pledge nearly 700 mn euros to rebuild Notre-Dame

AFP  |  Paris 

Pledges from French billionaires, businesses and the public sector to help rebuild Notre-reached nearly 700 million euros (USD 790 million) on Tuesday amid an outpouring of public support for one of Europe's most iconic monuments.

has vowed the mediaeval monument will be restored after its spire and roof collapsed Monday night in a blaze thought to be linked to extensive renovation work.

French group Kering, whose brands include and Gucci, kicked off the campaign late Monday with a promise of 100 million euros (USD 113 million).

chief said the intricate lattice woodwork supporting the roof that was lost in the blaze had to be replicated.

"This is why it's going to be long, extensive, but we have to do it," he told radio.

That pledge was followed Tuesday by a 200-million-euro pledge from Kering's rival and the family of its founder

French Total said it would contribute 100 million euros, and the group and its founding Bettencourt family offered 200 million euros.

Other high-profile French donors included the investor with 10 million euros, and construction magnates Martin and Olivier Bouygues, also with 10 million euros.

Among other firms, the gave 5 million, while US private equity investor has promised USD 10 million.

Corporate contributions are expected to climb, with blue-chip firms like Vinci, and also saying they were weighing how to participate.

said it would offer free flights to experts brought in to help with Notre-Dame's renovation.

Pledges were also pouring in from anonymous donors to groups including the privately run French Heritage Foundation, which said it had already secured pledges totalling 3.3 million euros.

On a more modest scale, a fund set up on the Leetchi fundraising platform had topped 26,000 euros by Tuesday afternoon.

2 television said it will broadcast a special classical music concert Wednesday night as part of the fundraising effort.

And the also called on French Muslims to help save "an architectural masterpiece that is the honour of our country".

said the city would unlock 50 million euros, while the government of the greater region promised 10 million.

And French insurer said it would supply the estimated 1,300 huge oak beams needed to re-create the roof support.

The German and Italian governments have also offered to help in the reconstruction, while Russian offered to send "the best Russian specialists with rich experience in the restoration of national heritage monuments."

called on his fellow citizens to contribute, citing a partnership signed between the two cities 32 years ago.

In total, nearly 700 million euros has been pledged for the painstaking renovation work that is likely to take years, if not decades, though experts breathed sighs of relief that the damage was not even worse.

The steeple of the gothic edifice had been undergoing an 11-million-euro (USD 12.4-million) overhaul financed by the French state to repair damage inflicted by time, pollution and the weather.

The cathedral has long relied on individual donations for repairs, and a few years ago created a US-registered charity enabling American voters to deduct gifts from their taxes.

The New York-based said it had also set up a fund for tax-deductible donations for Notre-Dame in the wake of the fire.

added his company to the list of donors on Tuesday, saying on the would contribute an unspecified amount to help restore a "precious heritage for future generations.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Tue, April 16 2019. 21:30 IST