China sends hospital ship to typhoon-ravaged Philippines


An entire neighborhood is destroyed in the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan on November 13, 2013 in Tacloban, Leyte, Philippines.


Kevin Frayer

Nearly two weeks after Typhoon Haiyan devastated the central Philippines, China has deployed a Navy hospital ship dubbed the 'Peace Ark,' its first batch of aid.

The ship will carry an emergency medical team with more than 300 hospital beds and over 100 doctors and nurses, and will provide both on-board care and medical assistance in the field, according to the Associated Press.

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The deployment of the Peace Ark comes after some international criticism of China's relatively weak response thus far to the disaster in the Philippines, which is estimated to have killed over 4,000 and displaced millions. 

China initially sent $100,000 of humanitarian aid, prompting criticism from some in the Philippines and further afield.

Relations between the two nations have been strained in recent months due to their ongoing dispute over South China Sea territory. 

China has now upped the aid to $1.6 million, while other Chinese organizations also intend to contribute to the effort, according to Agence France-Presse. 

The US has contributed $37 million in aid thus far and has sent an aircraft carrier to the scene, while Japan has contributed $30 million. 

"With our efforts, we will make great contributions to the relationship between the Chinese people and the Philippine people," said Shen Hao, the deputy chief of staff of the East China Sea Fleet and the commander of the Peace Ark mission, according to AFP. "We will do our utmost to make contributions to the Philippine side."