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Tuesday, 12 November, 2013, 4:34am

News›Asia
DISASTER
Staff reporters and agencies
US and Japan send rescue teams

China, the world’s second largest economy, has offered US$100,000 in aid to the Philippines in the wake of Super Typhoon Haiyan.

It is the same amount as Vietnam, itself now battling to limit the damage from the storm which made landfall yesterday. Meanwhile, the US has sent US$20 million in aid, while Australia and Britain have pledged US$9.38 million and US$9.6 million respectively.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang announced yesterday that Beijing would give US$100,000 in aid to the Philippines, as the United Nations, Japan and the United States mobilised emergency relief teams and supplies after one of the biggest storms on record devastated the central Philippines on Friday. China’s offer did not include personnel, but Qin said Beijing could proceed with further assistance after consulting Manila and relief agencies.

The United States has sent 90 marines, aircraft, emergency shelters and 55 tonnes of emergency food. Tokyo is sending a team of 25 medical personnel.

The donation comes a month to the day after China criticised the US for giving tacit backing to the Philippines’ stance [1] after Manila had launched an arbitration case with the United Nations to challenge the legal validity of Beijing’s sweeping claims over the resource-rich South China Sea.

Despite an official death toll of 1,774, authorities in the Philippines fear that the toll could climb to more than 10,000. At least two million people in 41 provinces were affected by the disaster, with tens of thousands of houses destroyed.

An aerial image shows the devastation caused by typhoon Haiyan in Hernani township, Eastern Samar province, central Philippines. Photo: AP

Philippine President Benigno Aquino has declared a state of national calamity, allowing the government to use state funds for relief and rehabilitation and control prices.

Beijing’s offer highlights the fine diplomatic line it needs to walk amid its ongoing territorial dispute with Manila in the South China Sea.

“Given the tense relationship between China and the Philippines, resentment among Chinese may be triggered if Beijing helps the Philippines,” said Du Jifeng , a Southeast Asian affairs analyst at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

Members of the Japan Disaster Relief Medical Team depart. Photo: ReutersQin denied any link between the aid and its relations with the Philippines.

Vietnam, despite itself being hit by a weakened Haiyan, offered emergency aid of US$100,000. It said it “stands by the Philippine people in this difficult situation”.

Reaction to the news of China’s donation among Chinese web users was mixed on Tuesday, with many commenting that Beijing should not have donated any aid.

“The Chinese government should not have offered aid in the first place to a country that’s unfriendly or even hostile to China. Instead, grass-roots organizations and individuals should be encouraged to offer aid,” wrote a microblogger by the name of Mituofo.

IN PICTURES: Typhoon Haiyan leaves a trail of devastation [2]

“China has so many impoverished areas that could use the aid money,” said another called C_Q77

One commenter on the Global Times website wrote: “So many of China’s own children are starving and don’t have enough clothes to wear – Why would the government pretend to be a good guy to other countries while turning a blind eye to your own people?”

Agence France-Presse, Reuters

http://www.scmp.com/news/china/article/1353889/china-offers-us100000-aid-typhoon-ravaged-philippines

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