ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) — The Municipality of Anchorage received a shipment of Personal Protective Equipment from one of its sister cities, Harbin China, which included 10,000 medical masks and 1,000 surgical gowns.
Anchorage Mayor Ethan Berkowitz said in a statement that the donation from his counterpart, Harbin Mayor Sun Zhe, was in part the result of relationships established during the Alaska Trade Mission in 2018.
"It's touching that the relationships we had when we were in China developed into something like this," Berkowitz said. "The people that we ate food with and who showed us around were able to remember who we were, and this is the result of it — this equipment is the result of it, and it's just a continual reminder that if you have strong friendships, that kindness comes from it and good things will inevitably result."
Harbin is the provincial capital of Heilongjiang province in Northeast China, home to more than 10 million citizens.
In a joint statement with Berkowitz, Zhe expressed a message of goodwill to Anchorage and its residents.
"In such a challenging time, Harbin is firmly supportive of the MOA's efforts in combating the pandemic and hopes to help," Zhe said. "We take this opportunity to address the people of Anchorage of our best wishes and faith. We believe that the city will overcome this hardship and the people and economy will recover and continue to prosper."
Muni officials say the shipment arrived in Anchorage with the help of Alaska Airlines, Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport, Lynden International, Air China, and the Sister Cities Commission.
Jin Chen, an Anchorage resident and Anchorage Sister Cities Commissioner, said that the sister city connection was instrumental in orchestrating the donation.
"Because of that connection we were able to help each other, and those cities are paired based on our similarity, either geographically or the culture, we have some level of similarity between the two cities, so it's really wonderful to connect the people, connect the economy," Chen said.
Anchorage has seven sister cities around the world, in China, Korea, Japan, Australia, England, Norway and Russia.
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