Sister Cities Initiative Is Expanding to Vietnam

May-September – Officials of Sister Cities, Kobe and Osaka, reported that the 2010 Japan-U.S. Sister Cities Disaster Preparedness Exchange has proven very useful as these two cities assisted city officials in Miyagi and Iwate prefectures. Following the devastation of the march 11 earthquake/tsunami, Kobe and Osaka city officials have traveled to assist and relieve their counterparts. “Disasters are local and we need to empower our municipal colleagues through our own experiences and training. The officials in the tsunami affected cities have been working non-stop and with limited resources. They so welcomed our help.” (City of Kobe Planning and Coordinator Advisor Yuichi Honjo)

August – In 2012 Peace Winds America will expand the Sister Cities Disaster Preparedness Initiative to Vietnam. The Mayors and People’s Committee Chairmen from the sister cities of San Francisco – Ho Chi Minh City and Seattle – Hai Phong signed agreements committing to work together in PWA’s Sister Cities Disaster Preparedness Initiative. The Mayors and People’s Committee Chairmen acknowledged the importance of disaster preparedness at the city level, especially in light of climate change.

Through a series of disaster preparedness forums held in Vietnam and the U.S., the sister cities will target collaborative disaster planning, disaster risk reduction, and emergency response and recovery. The Initiative will bring municipal officials and disaster managers together with national authorities and ministries, businesses, NGOs, and community groups.

The Initiative strengthens the ability of cities to protect people and local economies from natural disasters and climate change. Through a series of disaster preparedness forums held in Vietnam and the U.S., the sister cities of San Francisco – Ho Chi Minh City and Seattle – Hai Phong will work together to improve collaborative disaster planning, disaster risk reduction, and emergency response in their respective cities. The program will bring officials and disaster managers from these cities together with national authorities and ministries, businesses, NGOs, and community groups. Disaster managers from Vietnam will meet their U.S. counterparts to exchange ideas and engage in cross-cultural dialogue that promotes innovative thinking and creative solutions in disaster management.

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