China's Peace Ark departs for the Philippines Thursday
                 English.news.cn | 2013-11-20 21:08:34 | Editor: Zhu Ningzhu

BEIJING, Nov. 20 (Xinhua) -- The Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy's hospital ship the Peace Ark will depart on a typhoon relief mission to the Philippines on Thursday, a Foreign Ministry spokesman said on Wednesday.

With full-load displacement of 14,300 tons, the hospital ship has 300 beds, 20 ICUs, eight operating theaters, and can accommodate 40 major procedures a day.

"We hope its mission will help ease the lack of medical services in the disaster areas in the Philippines, as a token of Chinese people's friendship to the Philippine people," Hong Lei said at a daily press briefing.

The death toll from Typhoon Haiyan (local name Yolanda) stands at 4,011, the Philippine disaster agency said Wednesday. The number of those injured has risen to 18,557, while 1,602 people remained missing.

China is keeping a close eye on the disaster and wants to help heal the wounded by sending manpower and humanitarian assistance, Hong said.

Besides the hospital ship, emergency medical and rescue teams of 16 rescue workers from the China Red Cross departed on Wednesday, he said.

A second batch will depart on Saturday and another medical team of 51 emergency personnel will depart "soon," Hong said.

Th China Soong Ching Ling Foundation (CSCLF) has provided 200 prefabricated houses, worth about 3.2 million yuan (about 525,000 U.S. dollars). Chinese humanitarian aid arrived on Monday and Tuesday in the central Philippine city of Cebu, a center for relief goods distribution.

The relief aid, including tents and blankets, was shipped by a China Eastern Airlines cargo plane and handed over to the Philippine Department of Social Welfare and Development. It will now be sent to Tacloban, one of the worst-hit cities in the central Philippine province of Leyte.

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