The Chinese PLA Navy’s most advanced hospital ship ‘Ark Peace’ is paying a friendly visit to Sri Lanka from 6-9 August and will provide medical services to Sri Lankan people free of charge on August 8.
The move comes –though unrelated, as China announced it has entered into a 99-year lease with Lanka for the $1.5 billion Hambantota port amid local and foreign concerns that the deal is more geostrategic than commercial.
Chinese state-run media said China is upholding the concept of peace, development and cooperation and creating a win-win situation as well as actively carrying forward international humanitarianism. “Ark Peace has been involved in actions to heal the wounded and rescue the dying. Since its commission, Ark Peace has sailed a total of 170,000 nautical miles for over 13,000 hours, visited 29 countries covering three oceans and five continents and provided medical services to over 120,000 people overseas,” report South Asia Monitor
The welcome ceremony for Ark Peace started on August 6 and the ship will be open to public the whole day.
Medical services will be provided to Sri Lankans from 9.00 a.m. to 11.30 a.m. and from 3.00 p.m. to 5.30 p.m. on August 8.
The Ark Peace berthed at a passenger terminal of Colombo Port.
In May, floods and landslides killed 216 people, left 76 missing and affected over 600,000 in Sri Lanka – just a year after similar floods killed more than 100 people in the island.
The government has said it will set up 100 disaster evacuation centers across the island nation.
The country also is seeking help to improve its weather radar network. The government has signed a $22 million agreement with Japan to set up new weather radar stations, report Reuters.