President Emmanuel Macron of France is set to visit Ethiopia’s historic city of Lalibela later today, following a request by Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed to help with the “preservation” of its centuries-old churches.
The French embassy in Addis Ababa has made this known.
There is growing concern about the condition of the city’s 11 rock-hewn churches, with Unesco saying that most of them – listed as world heritage sites – are in a “critical condition”.
Unesco says on its website: “The drainage ditches were filled up with earth for several centuries, before being cleared in the 20th century, and have been disrupted by seismic activity.
“This has resulted in a severe degradation of the monuments from water damage, and most of them are now considered to be in a critical condition.”