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Chinese medical teams reach Philippines

Updated: 2013-11-23 07:41
By Zhang Yunbi in Cebu, the Philippines ( China Daily)

Aid from China is still pouring into the hardest-hit areas in the central Philippines as the death toll and damage caused by super Typhoon Haiyan keeps growing.

The threat of an epidemic looms in some devastated areas two weeks after the deadly storm hit the nation.

Reports of more deaths continue to come in while sanitary problems also mount in the tropical nation, where temperatures remain high.

"Typhoons, in some ways, are different from earthquakes ... water sources may have been polluted. (But) we prepared for this," said Ma Shengkui, a member of the Red Cross Society of China's international rescue team. The team is equipped with anti-epidemic masks and anti-biohazard suits.

 Chinese medical teams reach Philippines

Members of the Red Cross Society of China international rescue team line up before departing to Tacloban, the region hit hardest by Typhoon Haiyan, in the Philippines, on Friday. Wang Jing / China Daily

Each member of the society's team has working experience either in China's Sichuan earthquake in 2008 or the Indonesia tsunami of 2004.

Another Chinese team of more than 50 doctors and nurses arrived at Cebu on Thursday aboard a chartered flight, along with 6 tons of medical supplies.

The area's crippled transportation infrastructure has kept rescuers from reaching the most devastated areas.

Tacloban - the destination of the Chinese Red Cross team - the capital of Leyte province and the focus of global attention, still struggles with restoring power and water to residents.

A plan to bring three ambulances from China to the Philippines had to be aborted because there was no space on the chartered plane that arrived in Cebu on Thursday.

Instead, the Chinese team will coordinate with local authorities to request vehicles to carry out their missions.

Limited space aboard the flight also ruled out sending over portable toilets.

The Philippine Red Cross and international rescue teams are working closely with the Chinese Red Cross rescue team on the ground.

Only six Philippine Red Cross personnel were working in Cebu. But on Thursday, all six helped coordinate the chartered flight, along with vessels and the location for the Chinese medical center.

The local Philippine-Chinese community also assisted the disaster relief teams from China by providing accommodations and communication resources.

According to Zhao Baige, vice-president of the Chinese Red Cross and vice-president of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, the Philippine Red Cross has been invited by the Red Cross Society of China to visit southwestern China's Sichuan province early next year for "a field trip to the earthquake-hit area" to learn from China's experience in post-disaster reconstruction.

Zhao, who was getting ready to visit the Leyte disaster area, also expressed the society's willingness to redouble its support for the typhoon-stricken region.

zhangyunbi@chinadaily.com.cn

 

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