(Photo: Reuters/Jason Reed)
The National Cathedral is still recovering from damage sustained during an earthquake last August, with new estimates suggesting officials will need more than $20 million to fully repair the landmark.
In a press release marking the six-month anniversary of the earthquake, the National Cathedral announced that it has already raised $2 million to carry out the first phase of the restoration, but the full project could take up to five years and millions of dollars more.
"The repair work, which includes intricate stone carving and detailed masonry, and will require significant scaffolding and large cranes to access the damaged areas, could be completed in five years if sufficient funds are raised immediately," reads the press release.
In addition to the $2 million donated specifically for repairs, the cathedral has also received over $5 million for its operating budget since the disaster.
The National Cathedral's spokesman, Richard Weinberg, explained that donations have come in from individuals and churches all across the country, as well as abroad.
"We've even received donations from Westminster Abbey and a very heartening donation from Christchurch Cathedral in New Zealand," Weinberg told The Christian Post. Christchurch Cathedral suffered a series of devastating earthquakes throughout 2011 that led to the building's partial demolition.
The National Cathedral was damaged during a 5.8-magnitude earthquake originating from Mineral, Va., last August. Although the interior and basic structural components of the cathedral were largely unharmed, the four main pinnacles, several flying buttresses, and at least one gargoyle were damaged.
According to Weinberg, "This is the most expensive event due to a natural disaster in the cathedral's history."
For now, though, the damage has been contained and the National Cathedral is safe to visit. Officials have even erected an earthquake exhibit for visitors who would like to see both the damage and how it is being repaired.
Although the National Cathedral is a notable landmark and part of many government activities, it receives all of its funding from private sources.
"We have a national mission and work with the government, but we're still a non-profit organization," Weinberg explained. "We were built through the support of individuals, and that's how we are still funded."