Storm Hits China; Red Cross Pledges Aid to Philippines
Typhoon Haiyan, which slammed into the Philippines last Friday as one of the strongest storms ever to make landfall, already had weakened to a tropical storm by the time it crossed into southern China on Monday. But it still had gusts up to 100 kilometers per hour (60 miles per hour) and dropped up to 38 centimeters (15 inches) of rain over some parts of Guangxi province.
Hardest hit in China was the southern island of Hainan, where the approaching storm wrenched a cargo ship from its moorings Sunday, drove it out to sea and prevented rescue attempts by speed boat and helicopter. Three bodies were recovered and four crew members remained missing, China National Radio said. [Source]
The storm also caused at least $700 million in damages to agricultural, fishing and other related industries, according to the report. In the Philippines, the official death toll so far is 1774 but that number is expected to rise dramatically. Close to 700,000 people have been displaced from their homes.
The Chinese government announced that the Chinese Red Cross will give US$100,000 in relief funds, a number which pales in comparison to other countries’ efforts. From the Wall Street Journal’s China Real Time:
So far, China’s aid to the Philippines has been modest. On Monday, China’s embassy in Manila said the Red Cross Society of China offered $100,000 in disaster relief. China’s Foreign Ministry said Monday it is preparing assistance, without offering details.
The U.S. government said it was offering $20 million in humanitarian relief. Separately on Monday, defense officials said a U.S. aircraft carrier and other ships with a total of 5,000 sailors and 80 aircraft were heading to the Philippines to assist in relief efforts.
Others are contributing. Like the Chinese Red Cross, Toronto-Dominion Bank is also donating $100,000.
China is often a much bigger donor. After a magnitude-7.7 earthquake struck western Pakistan in September, China quickly offered more than $5 million in supplies and other aid to its longtime strategic partner. When a similar magnitude-7.1 earthquake struck the Philippines in October, China’s embassy announced $80,000 in relief through the Red Cross. [Source]
The relationship between China and the Philippines has been hostile in recent years as the two countries are at odds over territory in the South China Sea. In an editorial, the official Global Times defended the decision to give aid despite the ongoing tensions. From the South China Morning Post:
The state-run Global Times newspaper said in an editorial on Tuesday the territorial row should not affect such decisions.
“It’s a must to aid typhoon victims in the Philippines,” the paper, which is close to the ruling Communist party, said.
But it added: “China’s international image is of vital importance to its interests. If it snubs Manila this time, China will suffer great losses.”