Funding for Timbuktu restoration project far short of $11 million needed

UNESCO says it is more than two-thirds short of the $11 million needed to help restore Timbuktu's storied mausoleums and other Malian cultural treasures destroyed by Islamic radicals two years ago.

Three months after announcing the project, the U.N. cultural agency has raised only $3 million, a figure that has not changed since April. The head of UNESCO's office in Mali, Lazare Eloundou, confirmed the figure at a news conference Friday, appealing on donors for more help.

Eloundou spoke about the project's strategy of relying on local masons, saying it is helping Timbuktu recover its dignity and peace.

The director of UNESCO's New York office, Vibeke Jensen, said raising $8 million may not seem difficult, but it competes with appeals for help on humanitarian crises such as Syria's.