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C-130 planes set off for Cebu on relief mission

2013/11/12 14:44:39

Taipei/Manila, Nov. 12 (CNA) Two C-130 transport planes loaded with relief supplies departed from northern Taiwan for the Philippines Tuesday afternoon.

The Ministry of National Defense confirmed that the two planes, which took off from an air base in Hsinchu, would fly directly to Cebu city in the central Philippines, a journey of around three hours.

MND spokesman Maj. Gen. Luo Shou-he said there are 20 crew members and one Ministry of Foreign Affairs official on the mission.

Each plane can carry 7.5 tons of relief goods, and whether more relief missions are flown will depend on the weather and the collection of relief supplies in Taiwan, the ministry said.

The planes are expected to return to Taiwan on Tuesday night after the supplies have been unloaded in Cebu.

Taiwan's representative office in the Philippines said Taiwan had originally wanted to send the supplies directly to the typhoon-ravaged city of Tacloban but later decided on Cebu as the final destination at Manila's suggestion.

According to the Philippine government, the airport in Tacloban was seriously damaged in the typhoon, and looting in the area and the curfew imposed on the city still made it a less than ideal place to deposit relief supplies.

Sending the supplies to Manila, which is 600 kilometers away from the disaster zone, would also have been problematic because of potential transportation problems from there to Tacloban.

Super Typhoon Haiyan hit the central Philippines on Nov. 8, leaving a trail of ruin and devastation.

Between 80 and 90 percent of the buildings in Leyte province, where Tacloban is located, were damaged or destroyed.

Serious shortages of food and water ensued, and the area has fallen into a state of anarchy, with looting rampant.

(By Claudia Liu, Emerson Lim and Lilian Wu)