In response to Typhoon Haiyan, which has claimed the lives of over 4,000 people, and has left millions homeless in the Philippines, China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced that the country will be sending a hospital ship to aid victims who have lost homes and family members. The so-called “Peace Ark” is expected to set sail on Thursday, however, 16 members of the Red Cross Society of China were dispatched on Wednesday to areas with the largest devastation due to weather conditions.

“The 51-member emergency medical team sent by the Chinese government will set off within the next few days,” Foreign Ministry Representative Hong Lei said during a press conference on Wednesday. “The Red Cross Society of China will send an international rescue team to the disaster-hit areas in two groups. China will also dispatch the naval hospital ship, "Peace Ark," to join the relief effort in the disaster-hit areas.”

The Chinese government has been subject to heavy criticism for a lack luster effort to help typhoon victims in the aftermath of the Nov. 8 disaster. The relationship between China and the Philippines has been strained following territorial disputes over the South China Sea, The New York Times reported. China offered the services of its “state-of-the-art hospital ship” on Monday, which the Filipino Health Ministry graciously accepted.

With one of the largest economies in the world, second only to the United States, China announced that it would be donating $200,000 when the disaster initially occurred. The country recently changed its donation to $1.6 million, following an outcry from both international and domestic entities. Publications that usually support the communist state, such as the government owned People’s Daily, and its publishing asset the Global Times, have come out in protest against Beijing’s lethargic response.

“China has been following closely the typhoon disaster in the Philippines. It is reported that the disaster has injured about 20,000 people and left the disaster-hit areas lacking in doctors and medicine,” Lei added. “We have got the confirmation after coordinating with the Philippines and will send relief workers to the disaster-hit areas to provide humanitarian medical assistance in the spirit of healing the wounded and rescuing the dying. It reflects the Chinese people's goodwill toward the Philippine people.”

The Peace Ark will arrive in the Philippines with 300 hospital beds, 8 ICU units, and more than 100 medical staff members.