By ROY MABASA
The devastation wrought by super typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) has provided an opportunity for China to help the Philippines and to show the traditional friendship that exist between the two countries, according to the top Chinese diplomat in Manila.
Speaking to reporters during the turnover ceremony of payloaders donated by Chinese companies in the Philippines held at the Philippine Red Cross National Headquarters in Port Area, Ambassador Ma Keqing pointed out that contrary to observations that it took some time for the Chinese government to extend humanitarian aid to disaster-stricken Philippines, Chinese response was in fact “very quick, right after the typhoon.”
According to Ambassador Ma noted that Chinese President Xi Jinping immediately sent his condolences to President Aquino and together with the Red Cross Society of China, the Chinese government donated $100,000 for the victims of the typhoon.
She said China launched its relief aid “step by step” by first donating P73 million worth of tents and blankets and relief goods worth P40 million pesos.
Three medical teams were later deployed consisting of nearly 200 doctors from the Chinese Red Cross, China’s health ministry and of course China’s famed Peace Ark Hospital Ship.
Ambassador Ma said the Chinese medical team is currently situated in the most severely hit areas in Tacloban, Palo, and Abuyog. Within three days, she disclosed that the medical team received over 3,500 patients, more than 80 of them were hospitalized and some were operated in hospital ship.
Now, Chinese aid will be shifting to the rehabilitation phase, according to Ambassador Ma.
“We are ready to share our experience how to rebuild in disaster areas,” she said as she pointed out that China is a country which suffers annually from natural calamities so it has some experience in rebuilding and reconstruction.
She further noted that China’s advantage is that when one area is hit by a calamity the whole country is mobilized to support that area.
“In Chinese media there is almost daily coverage of (typhoon Yolanda),” Ambassador Ma said. “Chinese people follow this with great sympathy and they have shown their readiness to help the Filipino people.”