China wasn’t exactly decisive with its aid immediately following Typhoon Hainan’s catastrophic landfall in the Philippines, but now it’s getting its act together: the government is sending a self-proclaimed state-of-the-art hospital ship named the “Peace Ark.”
The government also upped its aid package to respectable US$1.6 million, although that’s still dwarfed by other donors, as Reuters reports:
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. […]
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. […]
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.
Better late than never, and better something than nothing, but if the government thinks it can glue together its shaky Southeast Asian soft power with a few million bucks and one boat (sorry, Ark), it probably has another thing coming.
[Image via Wikipedia]