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China dispatches amphibious ship, oiler on Tonga relief mission

The People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) has dispatched two vessels to Tonga as part of Beijing's ongoing humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HADR) efforts in the country.

These vessels are the sixth Yuzhao (Type 071)-class amphibious assault ship Wuzhi Shan (987) and the second Type 901-class combat support ship Chagan Hu (967), according to information and images published by China's state-owned broadcaster CCTV on 31 January. Both vessels departed Guangzhou at about 8 am that day, CCTV added.

Both vessels are carrying about 1,400 tonnes of relief materials including panels for mobile homes, tractors, generators, water pumps and purifiers, food, and medical equipment.

In addition, Wuzhi Shan has also embarked healthcare personnel who will assist in medical missions once the ships arrive in Tonga. The Yuzhao class can accommodate up to four helicopters, while the Type 901 class can accommodate two helicopters.

Wuzhi Shan and Chagan Hu will join other naval ships that have arrived in Tonga over the past week to provide humanitarian aid since the country was struck by an underwater volcano on 14 January. These include vessels and aircraft from the Royal Australian Navy (RAN), the Royal New Zealand Navy (RNZN), and the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF).

Earlier on 28 January, the People's Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF) had also dispatched two Y-20 transport aircraft with about 30 tonnes of relief supplies including tents, food, and drinking water.

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