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News Release


Tianjin, People's Republic of China Earthquake Mitigation Initiative Partnership with Wellington, New Zealand

23 April 2001

In August 2000 Wellington entered into a partnership with China's third largest city, Tianjin, to jointly co-operate in protecting the two cities against earthquake disaster. Tianjin has a population of 9 million people and is the major coastal port for Beijing.

This is one of the international partnerships being established as part of the World Bank supported Megacities Earthquake Mitigation Initiative (EMI).

A Tianjin-Wellington Twin Cities Earthquake Mitigation Initiative Partnership Memorandum of Understanding was signed on behalf of the two cities by Vice Mayor Liang Su representing Tianjin and Mayor Mark Blumsky representing Wellington during a visit by a high level delegation from Tianjin to Wellington in August.

A Wellington delegation visited Tianjin in October, led by Mayor Mark Blumsky, with representatives of the Wellington based NZ Earthquake Engineering Technology Business Cluster, including members from the Wellington Emergency Management Office and Institute of Geological & Nuclear Sciences.

A Wellington delegation visited Tianjin in October, led by Mayor Mark Blumsky, with representatives of the Wellington based NZ Earthquake Engineering Technology Business Cluster, including members from the Wellington Emergency Management Office and Institute of Geological & Nuclear Sciences.

It is planned to hold a Tianjin-Wellington Earthquake Mitigation Initiative Workshop later this year in Tianjin.

The NZ Earthquake Engineering Technology Business Cluster has established a Tianjin Wellington Earthquake Mitigation Initiative Liaison Committee chaired by Kevin Murphy from Wellington City Council. The Tianjin Seismological Bureau and China Seismological Bureau are active participants in supporting this important developing partnership.

The aim of our first workshop is to measure the capabilities of each of the participating cities. To do this, we have proposed a few workshop topics, such as risk mitigation for existing and new buildings, risk mitigation for lifelines (water, electricity, roads), application of geographic information systems (GIS) in hazard management, and earthquake forecasting techniques.

Background:

As the International Decade for Natural Disaster Reduction (IDNDR) came to a close towards the end of the 90's, a workshop was organised on Earthquakes and Megacities in Seeheim (near Frankfurt), Germany 1-4 September 1997 that was attended by 95 participants from 30 countries. Represented were individuals from ten United Nations and non-governmental organisations, four funding agencies, twelve natural science, engineering and social science organisations, and three private companies. The outcome of the meeting was the formation of an "Earthquake in Megacities Initiative" (EMI) to be implemented in the years to come and carry the work initiated by IDNDR into the next millennium. EMI was officially launched in early 1998.

Their Mission:

The Earthquakes and Megacities Initiative (EMI) is an international scientific non-governmental organization dedicated to the acceleration of earthquake preparedness, mitigation and recovery of large urban areas (i.e. megacities). EMI serves as a catalyst for the delivery of scientific and technical knowledge to the end-users. EMI focuses its efforts on developing capacity in megacities of the developing world where the effects of earthquakes could be devastating to the people, their economy, their culture, and their environment.

The Twin Cities Project (TCP) is a core initiative undertaken by EMI to develop capabilities for large metropolitan cities to manage the preparedness, response and recovery from natural disasters. The network is organised as regional pairs or twin cities. The cities engage in programmes to foster the formal exchange of knowledge and expertise from members in each of the cities' communities. EMI serves as the facilitator of these exchanges. This project was launched in March 1999 with participation from the following 13 cities: Beijing, Bogota, Cairo, Izmir, Kobe, Los Angeles, Managua, Manila, Mexico-City, Naples, Tashkent, Tehran and Yerevan.

 


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