The National Museum of Brazil, the country’s oldest scientific institution, has been engulfed by flames after a fire broke out on Sunday night.

The museum, which recently celebrated its 200-year anniversary, contains more than 20 million items in its collection, including artefacts from Egypt and the oldest human fossil ever discovered in Brazil.

20 million historical artifacts being reduced to ashes right before our eyes. pic.twitter.com/mw8wmZen3g

— Marina Amaral (@marinamaral2) September 3, 2018

There were tons of news stories about how the Museum needed repairs. Lots of exposed wires, things like that.These were reported in May. Nothing much was done.Today, it burned down. It's a sad day for our scientific community.

— ?? Batman Arkham CIzzy (@MrNobre) September 3, 2018

In a statement, President Michel Temer described the building’s destruction as an “incalculable loss for Brazil” and “a sad day for all Brazilians”.

According to the BBC, no injuries have been reported as firefighters continue to battle the blaze at the building, which once served as a residence for the Portuguese royal family.

The National Mueseum recently celebrated its 200-year anniversary. Ricardo Moraes / Reuters The National Mueseum recently celebrated its 200-year anniversary.  The cause of the fire is not yet known.  Ricardo Moraes / Reuters The cause of the fire is not yet known. 

The institution’s vice-director told Globo news on Sunday night that the museum had suffered from years of neglect.

As photographs and aerial footage continued to depict a hellish inferno raging through the museum in the early hours of Sunday morning, Brazilian artist Marina Amaral tweeted that the fire was “proof of how Brazil is incredibly unprepared for absolutely any situation.”

With the total destruction of Museu Nacional of Rio de Janeiro, a 200-year institution, 20 million artifacts and historic building were lost, Museu Nacional is the equivalent of the British Museum in Brazil. Losing it is devastating, still a disgrace that could have been avoided

— Dr. Ana Lucia Araujo (@analuciaraujo_) September 3, 2018

The collection of @quaibranly is estimated at 450,000 objects.The @britishmuseum collection is estimated at 8 million works.The collection of @MuseuNacional in Brazil which was destroyed today is estimated at 20 million objects. TWENTY MILLION. The museum was 200 years old.

— Dr. Ana Lucia Araujo (@analuciaraujo_) September 3, 2018

“The museum had 0 mechanisms to help contain the fire. And now the building is literally falling apart. Pathetic,” she said.

The cause of the fire is not yet known.

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