November 22, 2013
It is still too soon to assess the full impact of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, especially on the country’s poorest citizens. It is clear, though, that microfinance institutions can play an integral role in the recovery. Two of our microfinance allies, CARD and NWTF, operate in the provinces that were hardest hit by the storm.
CARD reports that nearly 160,000 of their 290,000 clients in Leyte and Samar were affected by the storm. More than a week after the typhoon, the CARD team is still providing relief assistance in these two provinces as transportation and infrastructure challenges continue to hinder the distribution of goods. CARD’s insurance unit has processed more than 20,000 claims for the loss of life and homes. They are also planning their post disaster response, and will start offering emergency and housing loans and counseling to both clients and staff. Unfortunately, one CARD loan officer and her daughter were killed in the storm.
NWTF reports that about 50,000 clients in 44 branches in Leyte were affected. Their branches in Tacloban and Palo were severely damaged, and they had to evacuate their staff at the height of the storm. But they have since sent their team, led by senior managers from the head office, back to Leyte to contact clients, distribute relief goods and help affected staff members. NWTF plans to restructure loans and release bridge loans to affected clients so that they can rebuild their businesses to get people back on their feet at the soonest possible time. Sadly, one staff member remains missing.
As of November 20, 2013, 4,011 individuals had been killed, 18,557 people were reported injured, and 1,602 people were still missing. More than 4 million people have been displaced. The UNOCHA reports that about 1.1 million homes across 18 provinces have been damaged. Although the outpouring of aid from the international community has been encouraging, the challenge of effectively distributing relief goods should not be taken lightly. A significant portion of all aid given in previous disasters was left wasted in warehouses for lack of reliable distribution systems. The ability to ensure that aid gets into the hands of the victims should not be taken for granted. In addition to our microfinance allies, below is a list of relief organizations with strong distribution networks in the central part of the country. We urge you to consider these channels as you continue to support the relief efforts.