SANTIAGO, Chile -- The City of Houston and the greater metropolitan area of Santiago, Chile, will collaborate and exchange best practices on flood mitigation following massive floods that hit both places last year.
Mayor Sylvester Turner and Karla Rubilar (above), governor of the Santiago region that includes 7.1 million residents, signed a memorandum of understanding today that calls for delegations from the cities to visit each other and work together on the most effective ways to lessen flooding.
Hurricane Harvey’s record rainfall led to flooding that affected more than 300,00 dwellings in Houston at the end of August. In February 2017, extremely heavy rain triggered flooding and mudslides in Santiago that contaminated water supplies for millions of people.
“In Houston and here in Santiago, flooding is not just a municipal issue, it’s a regional issue,” Mayor Turner said. “It just goes to show that some of the issues we are facing are being faced all over the globe. We will share best practices and we exchange delegation visits. Between the two we can make both regions more resilient and stronger.”
“We have a lot in common with the people of Houston,” Rubilar said. "I hope that this is the beginning of a long-lasting relationship with Houston that would also include learning more about tourism and how to better promote our region, affordable housing, and quality of life matters. But most importantly we want to learn about how Houston handled Hurricane Harvey.”
The mayor and the city's chief recovery officer, former Shell Oil Co. President Marvin Odum, have led efforts to change Houston construction ordinances for better flood prevention, secure federal recovery and hazard mitigation funds for local resiliency projects and provide services for residents still in need because of flood damage to their homes.
The mayor’s trip to enhance trade and other business connections with South America started this week in Peru, moved directly to Chile and will finish in Argentina at the end of the week.