Financial relief sent to Trail’s sister city will go toward rebuilding Sagamihara’s friendship city, Ofunato, a small municipality of about 40,000 people where several thousand houses were destroyed or damaged.
To represent one dollar for each of the approximate 8,000 residents of Trail, the city recently donated $8,000 to Sagamihara, the Japanese city 40 kilometres south of Tokyo, with Trail Operations matching these funds.
Trail and Teck offered $16,000 in support to those impacted by the earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan March 11 and asked Sagamihara city officials to decide where the donations could be used most effectively.
“Although Sagamihara sent public nurses and firefighters to the disaster area, the money being put in to this account is not being used to cover the costs of sending relief from Sagamihara,” explained city administrator Sandy Lucchini, noting that 100 per cent of the funds will be used toward rebuilding Ofunato.
Described as a friendship that promotes cultural diversity and economic opportunities, the sister cities participate in resident exchanges where the host city looks after the visitors with a place to sleep, meals and recreational activities.
The city donation was made possible by rerouting funds that were budgeted for a student trip and a city officials exchange that have been cancelled due to the disaster circumstance.