Brazil's 200-year-old national museum and most of its 20 million artefacts have been destroyed 3 years ago

Brazil's 200-year-old national museum and most of its 20 million artefacts have been destroyed

'It's a loss for the world, there is no way to get it back'

A massive fire has ripped through Brazil's 200-year-old museum and its archive.

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The Museu Nacional housed more than 20 million items, including one of the oldest-human skeletons on record, some of the first fossils ever found in Brazil and a rare collection of works on archaeology, palaeontology and anthropology.

Two broken fire hydrants next to the museum meant the first of the 80 firefighters on the scene had to source water from a nearby lake, delaying efforts to tackle the blaze. Brazil is currently experiencing the worst recession in its history.

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - SEPTEMBER 02: A fire burns at the National Museum of Brazil on September 2, 2018 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The museum, which is tied to the Rio de Janeiro federal university and the Education Ministry, was founded in 1818 by King John VI of Portugal. It houses several landmark collections including Egyptian artefacts and the oldest human fossil found in Brazil. Its collection include more than 20 million items ranging from archaeological findings to historical memorabilia. (Photo by Buda Mendes/Getty Images) Brazil is currently experiencing the worst recession in its history (Credit: Buda Mendes)

It's believed that the extent of the fire, which started at 7.30pm local time on Sunday just after the museum had closed, is so great that most of the collection has been destroyed. However, there are no reports of injuries or deaths.

"It's a loss for the world," former director of the museum Sergio Kugland de Azevedo told the FT. "This can never be recovered for the people, the building.

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"There is no way to get it back. Thankfully no one died but the loss can never be recovered."

Brazil's President Michel Temer said: "It's a sad day for all Brazilians."

'Luzia,' a 11,500-year-old human skeleton found in a Brazilian cave was stored at the museum, as well as items from ancient Egypt, Rome and Greece and bones from the largest dinosaur ever found in Brazil.