A team to probe House of Wonders incident: Oman

Muscat: A section of the House of Wonders or Beit-al-Ajaib, a landmark building in Stone Town, Zanzibar which was undergoing renovations has collapsed.

The Sultanate in a statement on Friday expressed regret over the House of Wonders collapse incident in Zanzibar.

“The Ministry of Heritage and Tourism, with regret, has followed up with the partial collapse of the House of Wonders in Zanzibar and hopes that, as the funding body for the comprehensive restoration, maintenance, and rehabilitation project, a team will be formed from all concerned parties to find out the causes and determine the urgent and necessary measures to preserve and protect the building,” an official statement said.

The Ministry added that it had previously carried out the necessary strengthening process for the preliminary stage before the comprehensive restoration.

Eng Ibrahim bin Said bin Khalaf al Kharousi, Undersecretary at the Ministry of Heritage and Culture for Heritage Affairs, said, There is direct coordination with the concerned parties in Zanzibar to protect the “House of Wonders” from any additional repercussions.”

Meanwhile, the United Nations Education, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has expressed its regret and sadness on the collapse of parts of the House of Wonders in Zanzibar, which was inscribed on the World Heritage List since 2002.

“The organization is in contact with the authorities in Zanzibar to find out the causes of the collapse and participate in providing solutions to preserve this landmark,” the Director of the UNESCO World Heritage Center said.

Reports from the scene of the accident say that some four workers have been trapped in the rubble with efforts to rescue them currently underway.

Zanzibar’s President Hussein Mwinyi arrived at the scene where he was briefed on the rescue mission which was underway at the historic building.

The Beit Al Ajab is the largest and tallest building of Stone Town and occupies a prominent place facing the Forodhani Gardens on the old town’s seafront, on Mizingani Road. It is located between the Old Fort and the Palace Museum (and former Sultan’s Palace).