China turns over additional $200k for typhoon victims

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Manila (Philippine Daily Inquirer/ANN) - The Chinese government has turned over to the Philippines an additional 8 million pesos in aid to support relief and recovery operations in the wake of Typhoon "Pablo," showing solidarity despite Beijing's unresolved dispute with Manila over the West Philippine Sea.

Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Ma Keqing on Friday handed over a $200,000 donation to the Department of Foreign Affairs, adding to China's earlier $30,000 aid sent by the Red Cross Society of China to the Philippine Red Cross.

Zhang Hua, spokesperson for the Chinese Embassy in Manila, said China's donation aims to "help the Philippine government and people recover from the Typhoon "Pablo."

Assistant Secretary for Asia and Pacific Affairs Ma. Theresa Lazaro received the donation from Ma, the DFA said.

"The donation ... will be remitted to the account of the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council to be used to help the victims of Typhoon 'Pablo' in the southern Philippines," the DFA said.

A Malaysian non-government organization is meanwhile sending a 56-man humanitarian team to Eastern Mindanao to assist continuing relief operations, the Philippine Embassy in Kuala Lumpur reported to its home office on Saturday.

Volunteer organization Kelab Putera 1Malaysia (KP1M) will be in the Philippines over the holidays on the instruction of Malaysian Prime Minister Dato' Sri Mohd Najb bin Tun Razak for a five-day humanitarian mission in Pablo-hit communities, the Philippines' Kuala Lumpur post said.

The team, composed of medical staff, first aid responders, logistics officers, and counselors, will bring food and medicine to affected towns around Mindanao, the DFA said. They will leave for Manila on Dec. 23.

Philippine Ambassador to Malaysia Eduardo Malaya expressed the Philippines' gratitude to the Malaysian government for "the gesture of compassion and generosity of heart."

"This gesture manifests the close relations between our two countries and peoples," Malaya told KP1M president Datuk Hj Abdul Azeez bin Abdul Rahim during his courtesy call at the Philippine Embassy in Kuala Lumpur on Dec. 19.

KP1M, a volunteer organization for the youth, has sent humanitarian missions to Japan, New Zealand, Somalia, Syria and Palestine

Already the largest donor to typhoon victims in Eastern Mindanao, the United States meanwhile reaffirmed its commitment to continue assisting the Philippines in providing and distributing food, shelter and hygiene packs to affected families.

"As the Christmas holiday approaches, we continue to work hand in hand with the Government of the Philippines and non-governmental organizations to make sure that assistance is reaching those who need it most in typhoon-ravaged areas of Davao," said the Embassy on Friday.

The US government has pledged nearly P300 million to the Philippines for emergency assistance in hard-hit communities in Compostela Valley, Davao Oriental and Negros Oriental.

The amount is on top of rice supply and transport assistance being provided by the United States Agency for International Development and the US military to Philippine authorities, the Embassy said.

The international community's cash and in-kind aid to the Philippines in the wake of Pablo has exceeded P670 million, with countries responding to the United Nation's appeal to pool together 2.6 billion pesos ($65 million) to help the Philippines respond to the calamity.

More than 1,000 people died and more than 800 remain missing after Pablo hit southern Philippines earlier this month, "one of the worst disasters that struck Mindanao" according to the DFA. Government has estimated the damage toll at 24 billion pesos.

US$1 = 41 pesos

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