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After widespread criticism - aid from China finally arrives in Philippines

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
November 20th, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Days after Beijing drew criticism for not doing more to helping victims of Typhoon Haiyan, the first batch of Chinese relief supplies has finally arrived in the Philippines.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The Philippines and international armed forces, along with aid agencies are rushing to give aid to devastated areas due to the extent of the destruction of the super storm that has killed at least 4,000 people and left four million people without homes.

As part of its aid package, China is sending a state-of-the-art hospital ship.

The Foreign Ministry in Beijing confirmed the deployment of the 14,000-ton "Peace Ark" as state television reported the arrival of the first batch of Chinese relief supplies in the Philippines.

Exactly where the Ark will operate and when it will arrive have not yet been confirmed, but Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said the Ark would set sail as soon as possible.
"China has always been concerned about the Philippines typhoon disaster," he said. "In the spirit of helping the dying and healing the injured, we plan to send rescue workers to the disaster area."

"The Philippine Department of Social Welfare and Development head has said the Chinese relief goods are very useful," Chinese embassy official Wu Zhenping told the station. His comments were made as a cargo plane carrying tents and blankets landed in the central Philippine city of Cebu this week.

"They will distribute some goods to evacuated victims in Cebu and the rest to victims in the worst-hit area Tacloban."

Relations between China and the Philippines has worsened over the past several months. There have been disputed claims in the South China Sea.

Beijing's belated response to the disaster has raised eyebrows in the international community. With the world's second-largest economy, China at first announced it was giving $200,000 and then raised that by $1.64 million. China then said it was ready to send rescue and medical teams over the weekend.

In contrast, the United States has mobilized about 50 ships and aircraft in the disaster zone with helicopters delivering supplies from an aircraft carrier. It has announced more than $37 million in humanitarian aid.

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