A Chinese navy hospital ship, the Peace Arc has arrived in Tacloban. This is the first time China has sent naval vessels overseas for humanitarian medical assistance. It's also the first foreign hospital ship to arrive in the Philippines since Typhoon Haiyan hit the country.
Emergency rescue teams and medical workers sent by Chinese Government and the Chinese Red Cross Society are also there, and are helping with medical treatment and relief supply distribution.
More Chinese medics have arrived in the Philippines on a two-week mission. The 50 strong team is in the city of Baybay, in the hard-hit province of Leyte. It includes specialists in pediatrics, respiratory problems, orthopedics and infections, who brought with them medicine and medical equipment. They'll be setting up a field hospital in Baybay to treat injured survivors.
"The whole team is geared up for all aspects of this mission. We will overcome all difficulties and give medical assistance," Ye Zhen, leader of Chinese Emergency Medical Team, said.
The humid, hot and rainy weather, as well as insufficient power and food supplies pose great challenges to the medics. The mayor of Baybay pledged all necessary help to the team.
"We are very glad your medical team is here, you have a very big group, that means you can do a lot for the Philippines, and for Baybay particularly," Baybay Mayor Carmen L. Carl said.
In the meantime, a Red Cross team from China is getting to work in Tacloban, the worst hit area. They've already joined in the search for bodies, and are handing out medicine and relief goods to survivors.
The Red Cross team will stay there for a month to provide emergency relief. They will then switch to advising on post-disaster reconstruction, using experience gained in the aftermath of China's Wenchuan quake in 2008.
"When our neighbor is in trouble, we should extend humanitarian aid. The Philippine government has a positive attitude towards our help. After the emergency rescue, we'll be helping with housing as required by the Philippine government, especially with shelters and clean water," Zhao Baige, vice president of Red Cross Society of China, said.
Typhoon Haiyan, which swept through six central Philippine islands two weeks ago, left a trail of death and destruction in its wake. As of November 23, government figures had put the confirmed death toll to 5,235, with over 1,600 still missing.
(CNTV.cn November 24, 2013)