China hospital ship to set sail for Philippine typhoon zone

HONG KONG Wed Nov 20, 2013 10:39am EST

Part of a rainbow appears over the makeshift home of a family at the airport in the eastern Samar town of Guiuan November 20, 2013. REUTERS/Wolfgang Rattay

Part of a rainbow appears over the makeshift home of a family at the airport in the eastern Samar town of Guiuan November 20, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Wolfgang Rattay

HONG KONG (Reuters) - China is sending a state-of-the-art hospital ship to the Philippines following foreign and domestic criticism that it was slow and less than generous in its response to one of the world's biggest typhoons, which killed at least 4,000 people.

The Foreign Ministry in Beijing confirmed on Tuesday the deployment of the 14,000-tonne "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."

Tension between China and the Philippines had risen in recent months over disputed claims in the South China Sea, with Manila taking Beijing to a United Nations court to challenge its historic claim to much of the strategic waterway.

China's usually hawkish Global Times, a tabloid owned by the government mouthpiece, the People's Daily, last week urged the deployment of the Ark amid criticism of Beijing's response by foreign commentators.

China, the world's second-largest economy, initially announced it was giving $200,000 and then bumped that up by $1.6 million. On Sunday, it said it was ready to send rescue and medical teams.

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.

Armed forces and aid agencies are struggling to get help to devastated areas following the widespread destruction in the Philippines, which left more than four million people homeless.

The Ark will join an international flotilla of naval ships now delivering food, water and medicine to victims of Typhoon Haiyan, which tore across the central Philippine on November 8, smashing just about everything in its path.

The Ark, outfitted with 300 hospital beds and eight operating theatres and a medical staff numbering 100, recently returned to Shanghai after an unprecedented four-month deployment to Southeast Asia and the Indian Ocean where it made several goodwill stops, treating thousands of patients.

A Chinese cargo plane carrying tents and blankets landed in the central Philippine city of Cebu on Tuesday, broadcaster CCTV said.

"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.

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

(Additional reporting by Alice Woodhouse and Sui-Lee Wee in Beijing; Writing by Nick Macfie; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)

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Comments (21)
Prince_Dan_We wrote:
I Hope the World must understand China’s Situation. China is just forced by the Situation to help their enemy but the Philippines which china treated as enemy is still raising hands and calling china s help because for the Philippines china is a Friend and continue begging for help.

You could not imagine that since 1986 when Cory Aquino toppled down the Marcos Dictatorship was actually a Chinese descent, sitting Presidents in the Philippines were all Chinese descent since 1986. Now Philippine President Aquino is also Chinese origin from Fujian China province.

How could the Philippines call china as enemy if the leaders of the Philippines are Chinese descent with ancestors 100% origin is China migrated to the Philippines during early 19 century?

China Government initiated anti-Philippines campaign to gain support for their claim to the Philippine territory as part of china and because of it, people listened how the china government brainwashed the people. So how could china reverse the anti-Philippines campaign in the midst of their invasion project to the Palawan territory?

“China found wanting but dragged down by their anti-Philippines campaign”

China and the Philippines are locked in a bitter dispute over islands in the West Philippines Sea “Palawan Territory” South China Sea and many Chinese took to Sina Weibo, China’s version of Twitter, to say the Philippines should not be given anything in aid.

China’s politicking anti-Philippines campaign over territory disputes yield a bad fruit to China’s image for surging nationalistic and anti-Philippines to many Chinese dragging down further china’s image building to the international community hampering their wants to help but their people against it.

How could you be called as a “world superpower if in other cases like humanitarian crisis you could not even respond? Being a world superpower entails lots of responsibilities to help and protect humanity; do you think china is ready to take responsibility?

Above all, if you only knew, that the Philippines is so happy for the help of China.. and also China deep inside their hear are not only proud for helping the Philippines but they are also happy that they helped the Philippines. It is a human instinct to feel a very big heart and wide as horizon happiness if you could help others.. In spite of everything.. China is happy for helping the Philippines

Nov 20, 2013 1:05am EST  --  Report as abuse
Prince_Dan_We wrote:
I Hope the World must understand China’s Situation. China is just forced by the Situation to help their enemy but the Philippines which china treated as enemy is still raising hands and calling china s help because for the Philippines china is a Friend and continue begging for help.

You could not imagine that since 1986 when Cory Aquino toppled down the Marcos Dictatorship was actually a Chinese descent, sitting Presidents in the Philippines were all Chinese descent since 1986. Now Philippine President Aquino is also Chinese origin from Fujian China province.

How could the Philippines call china as enemy if the leaders of the Philippines are Chinese descent with ancestors 100% origin is China migrated to the Philippines during early 19 century?

China Government initiated anti-Philippines campaign to gain support for their claim to the Philippine territory as part of china and because of it, people listened how the china government brainwashed the people. So how could china reverse the anti-Philippines campaign in the midst of their invasion project to the Palawan territory?

“China found wanting but dragged down by their anti-Philippines campaign”

China and the Philippines are locked in a bitter dispute over islands in the West Philippines Sea “Palawan Territory” South China Sea and many Chinese took to Sina Weibo, China’s version of Twitter, to say the Philippines should not be given anything in aid.

China’s politicking anti-Philippines campaign over territory disputes yield a bad fruit to China’s image for surging nationalistic and anti-Philippines to many Chinese dragging down further china’s image building to the international community hampering their wants to help but their people against it.

How could you be called as a “world superpower if in other cases like humanitarian crisis you could not even respond? Being a world superpower entails lots of responsibilities to help and protect humanity; do you think china is ready to take responsibility?

Above all, if you only knew, that the Philippines is so happy for the help of China.. and also China deep inside their hear are not only proud for helping the Philippines but they are also happy that they helped the Philippines. It is a human instinct to feel a very big heart and wide as horizon happiness if you could help others.. In spite of everything.. China is happy for helping the Philippines

Nov 20, 2013 1:08am EST  --  Report as abuse
GuestOoo wrote:
“Peace Ark is the first hospital ship in the world with a 10,000-ton capacity, with 428 soldiers, officers and medical workers on board. The ship has 300 beds, 20 ICUs, 8 operating theatres, and the capacity to accommodate 40 major surgeries a day – about as many as a large hospital in Beijing. The ship is unarmed and painted white with red crosses to conform to the Geneva Convention criteria for a civilian hospital ship, firing upon it is a war crime under international law.”

Nov 20, 2013 2:19am EST  --  Report as abuse
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