This week, Philippines began receiving aid from the world but China barely offered much assistance. As the world’s aid organizations, governments and specialists started flooding donations, food and manpower into Philippines, China made a meager pledge. The Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman, Qin Gang, said more aid might be considered.
The U.S. is providing $20 million and it mobilized the U.S. Navy to ship in supplies while the military will fly in deliveries. USAid gave $10 million as well as rice and biscuits. Additionally, Japan sent $10 million in aid plus an emergency relief team. Australia donated around $9 million. Canada is sending a Disaster Assistance Response Team and the European Commission will donate $17 million.
China, the world’s second largest economy, pledged $100,000 to Manila and an additional $100,000 to be donated through the Chinese Red Cross. The Foreign Defense Ministry spokesperson for China did not say why they gave less than other countries.
China is currently vying to become a bigger player in Southeast Asia. In the region, it competes with the U.S. and Japan for influence. Recently, issues over control of the South China Sea created stress in the area amongst China and other nations, namely Philippines.
The meager aid offered is already harming its reputation in the region. Even the Chinese state run newspaper, Global Times, published commentary about how “China, as a responsible power, should participate in relief operations to assist a disaster stricken neighboring country, no matter whether it’s friendly or not.”
As the situation stands, Philippines is receiving aid from the worldwide community but barely anything from China.
After Super Typhoon Haiyan ripped through central Philippines and leveled the city of Tacloban, officials suspect 10,000 people might be dead.
On Tuesday, the United Nations did initiate an appeal to offer $301 million since they reached estimates that possibly around 11 million Filipinos are affected with 660,000 presumed homeless. The death toll has now passed 1,700 and expected to increase substantially even though the Philippine President, Benigno Aquino III, estimated around 2,500.
“The U.N. humanitarian chief, Valerie Amos, arrived Tuesday to coordinate efforts. She told the press that the $25 million in emergency funds released by the U.N. was for food supplies, health, sanitation, shelter, debris removal and protection for the most vulnerable.”
According to aid workers, the road leading from the airport to the city is so congested with debris and dead bodies. Now, the journey takes three hours. All roads that lead inland are impossible to pass.
(Video features an interview with Richard Gordon, Chairman of Philippine Red Cross)
The relief teams will aid the lack of manpower Philippines is experiencing. Tacloban Mayor, Alfred Romualdez, reported to the media that out of 1,300 police officers, only 100 were showing up to work. The infrastructure of the local government has disappeared and mobilizing it again is difficult without power and telephones.
China’s aid might further damper its image in the Philippines while the U.S. deepens its already long relationship. 70 years ago the U.S. was there after battle and has been providing the nation sovereignty since 1848 (except for three years when Japan occupied the country during World War II).
Philippines will continue to receive aid from the world as well as the United Nations once aid amount is confirmed. China currently remains silent about barely participating in relief efforts. Philippines sought the world’s assistance following the catastrophe and aid is finally arriving.
By Cayce Manesiotis