Nelson Star

Truck donated to Nelson sister city Onagawa

The two-tonne flatbed truck donated to Nelson
The two-tonne flatbed truck donated to Nelson's sister city of Onagawa, Japan, was purchased with the $40,000 fundraised in Nelson in the year following the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan.
— image credit: submitted photo

The gift of a two-tonne flatbed truck was delivered to the people of tsunami-stricken Onagawa, Japan, last Wednesday.

It's been nearly two years since a powerful undersea earthquake sent a 15 metre high tsunami wave storming over Onagawa, sweeping whole buildings into the sea and killing hundreds from that community alone. The area was heavily damaged and efforts to rebuild the coastal town of 11,000 are ongoing.

In the year following the overseas disaster, people in Nelson fundraised $40,000 to aid Onagawa, which has long been one of Nelson's sister cities. Meanwhile, fundraising efforts were also taking place in Esquimalt, BC, which also has ties to Onagawa through its military history. That community raised $1,300.

Nelson and Esquimalt combined funds to purchase the truck. On the front and side of the vehicle, written in both Japanese and English, are the words "Donated by Nelson & Esquimalt, B.C., Canada."

The choice to purchase the truck came after civic leaders in Onagawa suggested that such a gift would help their rebuilding effort. The vehicle will be used for a variety of purposes, like moving temporary shelters and setting up community events. It might also come in handy for evacuations in the case of another disaster.

The truck was handed over at a formal ceremony at the Onagawa town hall. Nelson Mayor John Dooley, who was unable to attend the ceremony in person, sent his regards in a letter.

"Humble through this donation may be, it is practical evidence that the people and leaders of Onagawa are in our thoughts as you plan and rebuild," Dooley wrote. "It is our sincere hope that the ties between Onagawa and Nelson continue into the far future."

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