By Brianna Baldwin and Katie Keith
On April 15th and 16th this year, the infamous church in France named Notre Dame’s roof was burning, causing billions of dollars in damages, but only resulting in the death of three people. Estimates regarding the price of the restoration of the church range from one billion dollars, which is the amount of money aimed to be raised for the restoration process through fundraisers, to slightly over two billion dollars. Of the many irreplaceable items damaged, possibly hundreds of thousands of dollars to properly restore the damage the fire, as well as water, had caused upon the possibly most famous organ in the world alone. This is due to the over eight thousand pipes and an electric system in the organ’s wind chest, along with other damages. Fortunately, every artifact, of those documented thus far, including what is thought to be a piece of the cross on which Jesus Christ was crucified on as well as the crown of thorns Jesus was thought to have worn during his crucifixion, survived the fire, although with some damage restorations needed. With many priceless artifacts such as these (to their respective following), it is easy to understand why there was such an outcry at the fire burning away the building, and possibly everything inside.
After the fire had been successfully put out, by the nearly four hundred fire fighters that had been called to the scene in approximately fifteen hours, donations started pouring into the restoration process from people around the world. Although there was an insurance policy for the cathedral in France, the Insurance company has decided to leave all costs of repairs and restorations to the French government. With a possibly two billion dollar bill to be paid, many could not be started until more money was collected. This could have caused the Notre Dame Cathedral to have taken tens of years to rebuild. These are all reasons as to why billionaires as well as companies rushed to donate. The Walt Disney Company donated five million dollars, Kering donated one hundred and thirty-three million, and Bernard Arnault - partial owner of LVMH - donated two hundred and twenty-six million dollars, just to name a few of the many donors and donations.
With Notre Dame being 856 years old, there was priceless artwork and artifacts there. Some of the vital pieces of art were saved from the fire, including the crown of thorns. The crown of thorns has believed to been worn by Jesus during his crucifixion. The fact that artifacts such as these were housed in the Cathedral makes it very important to many, if not all, Christians. Notre Dame’s iconic bell was also saved from the fire. The roof on the Cathedral was burned along with the spire. A lot of the artwork that was in Notre Dame and their status is unknown. The art and artifacts may not have been burned, but the smoke would still cause an effect on them. After the fire and all the damage was made, Vincent Dunn, former fire chief, said that Notre Dame would have been condemned for being unsafe if it was not a place of worship. The main structure was saved from the fire, but the risk for collapsing has now increased greatly.
Although the donations were very kind, one has to wonder what the billion dollars donated could have done elsewhere. A billion dollars would have been enough money to clean up the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, which is killing our ecosystem and wildlife. The money could also help build more schools. There are places in the world that have less than 10% of their population that has a sliver of education. Somalia has the least functioning school in the world. Eritrea being second, followed by Haiti, Comoros, and Ethiopia. A billion dollars could also fix the amount of homeless people across the world. 150 million people are homeless worldwide. 1.6 billion people live in shelters that are barely providing them safety. Although the people of France are thankful, the amount of money raised for Notre Dame seems excessive. This is not the first fire Notre Dame has had, plus now the place is more dangerous than ever. People give money to an old church but look the other way when it comes to worldwide issues. Although there is sentimental and spiritual value in the Cathedral, as it is a very important figure for many of those who live in France as well as a majority of Catholics around the world, there are other issues throughout the world that could be fixed by these donations.