Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Small World

I live right down the road from the little Northern California town of Fort Bragg. A small former fishing and timber town on the coast, it seems a world away from the devastation that was visited on Japan over the last week, but when I saw this email from the Mayor, it suddenly seemed much closer:

Help Otsuchi

Our sister city, Otsuchi, has been destroyed. Out of a population of 17,000 people, over 10,000 people are missing in Otsuchi town. Last night on the news it was called The Lost City. The Mayor and the 20-member Assembly were making emergency response plans when the tsunami swept though the two-story city hall, taking windows, doors and people with it. Only the Deputy Mayor and 20 staff that the Mayor sent to the roof survived.

Ten years ago, the folks in the township of Otsuchi looked straight out across the Pacific on the 39th parallel and, there was Fort Bragg, small remote town like Otsuchi with a salmon fishing heritage. They sent a delegation to California and our sister city relationship began. The next year students from both cities visited the other and our cultural exchange program began. The next visit from Otsuchi students and adults was to have been in July this year. In 2005, I went to Otsuchi to sign our Sister City Agreement.

Our hearts are breaking and we wonder what can we do? We have started a fund to directly assist the survivors in Otsuchi. I have ordered that our flags be flown at half mast until the end of March to honor the lost souls in our sister city.

Information about Otsuchi can be found at our Otsuchi-Fort Bragg Cultural Exchange Program which is linked from our city website:

Dave Turner
City of Fort Bragg
I know there are those who would make fun of what has happened in Japan (as some already have done), but this just brings it even into clearer focus for me. We are all part of one world, and if you can't see that you are doomed to live a lonely life.

Any of the few folks who stumble across this  this humble little blog and feel so moved can contribute to help these people here:

Mail your donation to:
Otsuchi Relief Fund
PO Box 1017
Fort Bragg, CA 95437

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