A mother wipes the face of her daughter as they wait to take a flight on a military plane out of Tacloban, Leyte province, central Philippines on Wednesday. International assistance in the wake of the disaster is gaining momentum with many countries and organizations offering pledges of help. Photo: AFP
China will offer 10 million yuan ($1.64 million) worth of relief supplies to the Philippines after the devastation caused by Super Typhoon Haiyan, the foreign ministry said on Wednesday.
The announcement came after controversy over China's initial offer on Monday of just $100,000 of monetary aid.
The relief goods, including blankets and tents, will be able to help thousands of people suffering from the disaster in the Philippines, foreign ministry spokesman Qin Gang said at a regular press briefing on Wednesday.
The Chinese Embassy in the Philippines said the additional supplies are worth 10 million yuan.
Meanwhile, Chinese President Xi Jinping extended condolences to Philippine President Benigno Aquino III on Wednesday.
"On behalf of the Chinese people, I extend heartfelt sympathies to the Philippine people and profound condolences to the victims. May the Philippine people overcome the disaster and rebuild their homeland at an early date," Xi said in a telephone call to Aquino.
The death toll in the Philippines has risen to 2,275, the Philippine government said on Wednesday, adding that there are 3,665 injured and 80 still missing, the Xinhua News Agency reported.
The UN warned that 10,000 people were feared dead in just one city, Tacloban, the provincial capital of Leyte province, and more than 670,000 people have been displaced by the storm.
The Chinese Embassy in the Philippines on Monday announced a donation of $100,000 by the Chinese government and another $100,000 from the China Red Cross Society.
Accusations quickly emerged online, stating that the sum does not match China's status as a regional power and may dent China's international image, while some Chinese Net users argued that given the tense relationship between China and the Philippines, China should not have offered anything.
The relationship between China and the Philippines has been strained over territorial disputes in the South China Sea.
It was a difficult decision for the Chinese government, as it has to take into account both the opinion of the Chinese people and its hard-hit neighbor, Zhao Gancheng, a professor with the Shanghai Institutes for International Studies, told the Global Times on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, China has been hit itself by the strong typhoon. Eleven people in South China's Hainan Province have been killed as of Wednesday after the storm made landfall in the coastal province, China Central Television reported on Wednesday.
"China made the relief efforts in accordance with its due responsibility and obligations, instead of narrow nationalism. It does what a big power is supposed to do within its capacity," Xu Liping, an associate research fellow with the Institute of Asia-Pacific Studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times on Wednesday.
China has lots of experience in post-disaster reconstruction efforts to offer to the Philippines upon its request, which is also an important part of assistance, Xu said.
Five days after Haiyan ravaged the country, Philippine survivors are desperate for basic supplies.
Philippine security forces exchanged fire on Wednesday with armed men amid widespread looting of shops for food, water and other supplies, local television reported.
Eight people were reportedly crushed to death on Tuesday when a huge crowd of survivors crushed a government rice warehouse.
International assistance in the wake of the disaster is gaining momentum with many countries and organizations offering pledges of help. The Asian Development Bank announced on Wednesday $523 million in assistance for Philippine communities devastated by the storm.
Japan said on Wednesday that it is ready to send up to 1,000 self-defense forces to the Philippines to engage in relief work, Kyodo News reported.
Agencies contributed to this story