Typhoon Haiyan: First batch of China aid arrives in typhoon-struck Philippines

MANILA (REUTERS) - The first batch of Chinese relief supplies has arrived in the Philippines, Chinese state television said, days after Beijing drew criticism for not doing more to help victims of one of the world's biggest typhoons.

The Philippines and international armed forces and aid agencies are struggling to get help to devastated areas due to the extent of the destruction from Typhoon Haiyan, which has left more than 4,000 dead and 4 million people displaced.

A cargo plane carrying tents and blankets landed in the central Philippine city of Cebu on Tuesday, CCTV said.

"The Philippine Department of Social Welfare and Development head has said the Chinese relief goods are very useful," Chinese embassy official Wu Zhenping told the station.

"They will distribute some goods to evacuated victims in Cebu and the rest to victims in the worst-hit area Tacloban."

Tension between China and the Philippines has risen in recent months over disputed claims in the South China Sea and Beijing's response to the disaster raised eyebrows.

China, with the world's second-largest economy, initially announced it was giving US$200,000 (S$250,000) and then raised that by US$1.64 million. On Sunday, it said it was ready to send rescue and medical teams.

In contrast, the United States has mobilised about 50 ships and aircraft in the disaster zone with helicopters delivering supplies from an aircraft carrier. It has announced more than US$37 million in humanitarian aid.

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