Kim will attend disaster meeting
The Big Island mayor is one of three representing the U.S. in Germany
HILO » Big Island Mayor Harry Kim will carry a message to disaster preparedness officials meeting soon in Germany: "Know what hazards may impact you."
That seem obvious but Kim insists it is not.
Most of the more than 200,000 people killed by the Dec. 26, 2004, tsunami in southern Asia had no idea they were subject to a tsunami, Kim said.
Most of the people of New Orleans had no idea that Hurricane Katrina would devastate their city so badly that it will take years to rebuild, he said.
Most of the people of the Texas panhandle had no idea that a range fire this week would be so massive that it would kill 11 people and 10,000 cattle, he said.
Even on the Big Island, where Kim gained public recognition for 24 years as the county Civil Defense director, many residents do not know which lava danger zone or tsunami zone they live in, he said.
"If you know the hazards, half your battle is pau," Kim told the Star-Bulletin.
Kim will be one of 25 mayors from around the world attending the Mayors' Conference on Early Warning on Sunday in Bonn, Germany, Kim's office announced.
That conference will formulate recommendations for a much larger conference beginning the following day in Bonn.
The Third International Conference on Early Warning, next Monday to March 29, will be attended by more than 1,300 delegates.
Only three delegates from the United States will be present, including Kim, a representative from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and former President Bill Clinton.
Kim said he assumes Clinton was invited because he accompanied former President George H.W. Bush on a tour of tsunami devastation in southern Asia last year.
Clinton will give a speech at the gathering. Kim will not.
The meetings are being held under the auspices of the United Nations. Kim participated in U.N. preparedness meetings in France and Japan in the 1980s, helped review U.S. Geological Survey plans presented to Congress in the 1990s and assisted Honduras with civil defense in 2000.
Last year, civil defense officials from South America, Africa and Iran visited him on the Big island, he said.