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'Yolanda' victims get treatment aboard China's 'Peace Ark'

The Chinese Navy hospital ship, Peace Ark, departs from a navy base in Zhoushan, east of Shanghai, China, on a relief mission to the Philippines, Thursday, Nov. 21, 2013. Hundreds of thousands of people were displaced by Typhoon Haiyan, which tore across several islands in the eastern Philippines on Nov. 8. AP/Eugene Hoshiko

MANILA, Philippines - China's hospital ship arrived in Leyte on Sunday and started extending medical assistance to the victims of Super Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan).

At least five people who were injured during Yolanda's onslaught were among the the initial beneficiaries of the hospital ship "Peace Ark," according to an article posted on the website of the Presidential Communications Operations Office.

The Chinese Embassy in the Philippines said the Peace Ark, which has 106 medical professionals and world-class equipment on board, will do its "utmost" to offer medical services to local victims.

The first 10,000-ton-class hospital ship in the world is equipped with 217 types and 2,406 units of advanced medical systems including CT Scan room, digital X-ray photographic studio, blood bank, oxygen generation station, compressed air system, pharmacy, among others.

The ship is also equipped with 300 ward beds of various types.

China's hospital ship headed to Leyte after the Asian giant was criticized for its foreign relief aid which dwarfed in comparison with those from other nations.

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The Philippines and China are still locked in a territorial dispute over the South China Sea, with the southeast Asian nation claiming some parts of it while Beijing is pressing its indisputable sovereignty over the entire waters.

But despite the ongoing territorial row, China said its foreign aid has kept pouring into the hardest-hit areas in central Philippines, where over 5,000 were killed while about 10 million were affected by the strongest tropical cyclone to hit land this year.

"The Chinese people are empathetic with the hardships the Philippine people are facing," the Chinese Embassy here said, noting that its country was hit by Yolanda (Haiyan) as well. 

Chinese President Xi Jinping and Foreign Minister Wang Yi had also extended their condolences to President Benigno Aquino III and Foreign Minister Albert Del Rosario.

The Chinese government and its Red Cross Society also delivered $200,000 emergency remittance assistance to the Philippines.

"The relevant Chinese authorities and Chinese Embassy are following closely the relief operations and will render further assistance to the needs of the Philippine people," the Chinese embassy said.

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