Last update on December 30

Following the devastation from Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, we reached out to our family of Field Partners, borrowers, Fellows and field staff to check on their safety and well-being. We wanted to share those updates -- including additional ways you can help -- as we receive them here.

We've also received a lot of interest in forgiving loans for those affected by Typhoon Haiyan, and our Field Partners are currently going through the process of assessing the situation with each of their clients. Since those Field Partners are in the best position to determine which borrowers were directly affected by the storm, and how that might affect their ability to make repayments on their loans, they'll be making the call on which loans to restructure or write off if necessary. We appreciate the generosity of those who have written in with their interest in helping borrowers in this way, and know that together with our Field Partners we will continue to do whatever we can to help those affected by Typhoon Haiyan.

An update on our Field Partners in the Philippines December 3
Our two Field Partners that were most affected by Typhoon Haiyan -- Community Economic Ventures, Inc. (CEVI) and Negros Women for Tomorrow Foundation, Inc. (NWTF) -- are both likely to experience high delinquency rates in the near future.
CEVI currently has a high delinquency rate of 32.6% since they didn't have power at their head office for most of November and were unable to communicate repayments to Kiva. We've emailed affected lenders to let them know their repayments were delayed this month and that the loans would temporarily appear delinquent until we're able to obtain accurate information. That said, it's likely we'll continue to see higher than normal delinquency rates in the months ahead since the CEVI branches were hit so hard by the typhoon.
NWTF and their Kiva borrowers were also severely affected by the storm. NWTF was still able to report repayments last month, but we'll likely see a steep rise in delinquencies for the next round of repayments. A total of 6 branch offices were affected by the typhoon, so they're still in the process of measuring the impact on their borrowers. We did hear back about one particular Kiva borrower that was featured in a blog post earlier this year, Renee. NWTF reports that she is doing alright, but has lost almost everything and the future of her business is uncertain.
As CEVI and NWTF continue to assess the full extent of the damage, they'll be sharing information about their plans for restructuring and/or forgiving loans. We've also been working with our partners to fund loans for borrowers affected by the typhoon -- loans specifically designed to help clients get back on their feet. Our partners haven't yet posted these loans since they're still dealing with the typhoon aftermath, but we'll continue to keep you updated on their status here in the blog.

Negros Women for Tomorrow Foundation, Inc. (Field Partner)

NWTF is managing a round-the-clock call center and gathering data at all of their branches to make sure all staff members and clients are accounted for. They're also using this info to direct their relief efforts and help the 49,918 borrowers (and counting) that have been affected. They wrote with the following update:

In the immediate aftermath of Super Typhoon Yolanda, we are still assessing the extent of the damage.
From our initial contact with our branches, the most devastated area was the island of Leyte; Tacloban and Palo were flattened. We evacuated our Tacloban and Palo branch staff to the nearest branch in Samar for their safety and security, though some of our staff will need to undergo trauma counseling; many feared for their lives as buildings were literally swept to sea. Both branches were wiped out and there's very little food or water now. Sanitation will also be an issue since the dead have not been recovered yet.
We will be sending teams from the head office in the next day or so to help our staff, contact our clients and distribute relief goods to them. We have taken care of the immediate needs of our staff, although those in Leyte traveled to Samar with just the clothes on their backs -- everything else was wiped out in the storm surge. We are worried that many of our clients are in even graver states.
We had an emergency meeting at the head office today and from the initial reports, we will be declaring moratorium of payments from all of the Leyte branches, as well as some in Northern Cebu, Northern Negros Occidental and Northern Palawan — if the damage is extensive, we may have to default many of the loans or at the very least restructure them to help our clients rebuild their lives.
As soon as we have more information, I plan to send out a journal update to lenders about our clients in the affected areas and let them know that there might be delays or defaults in payment as a result of this calamity.
We are hoping that you could help us enable our clients to rebuild. Where we can, we plan to restructure the loans and release bridge loans to clients so they could rebuild their businesses, and we hope that you will allow us to raise funds for the restructured loans of clients in these affected areas or allow them to take a 2nd loan so that we can help them get back on their feet at the soonest possible time.
We will update you as we get more detailed information. We would also truly appreciate your help in raising funds or sending relief goods for the typhoon victims.
We also received the following update on November 19th:

[Following Typhoon Haiyan], we had to bring all of our branch staff from Tacloban, Palo, Ormoc, Kananga and Naval to Bacolod for trauma debriefing and counselling. Another reason why we had to evacuate them from Leyte was because there was no food or water. On Thursday, November 8, even before the storm hit, one of our staff from the head office who was in Tacloban had to wait in line for 4 hours just to buy bread. During the height of the storm they had to literally scramble for their lives as the roof flew away, and water entered the buildings they were sheltering in. And after the storm, they had to deal with seeing dead people in the streets and walking long hours just to get to safer ground. Our branch offices in Leyte were totally destroyed.
The good thing is that in spite of their harrowing experience, the field staff are committed to go back and help our clients. The first team is leaving for Leyte early on Thursday. We are sending 250 sacks of rice, 10,000 1-liter bottles of drinking water, 21000 cans of sardines and clothes for distribution to our clients. This is not easy to organize as the truck carrying the relief goods will have to cross 2 islands: from Negros to Cebu, then Cebu to Leyte, and we are dependent on availability of the ferries to make the crossing.
Once we make sure that our clients are okay, we will move to the next phase and help them rebuild. We are very grateful to WholePlanet Foundation, because they already informed us that they will convert the USD 333k zero-interest loan that has been sustaining our branches in Ormoc, Kananga and Naval into a grant and they have also offered to explore additional grant funding to assist in the rebuilding of microfinance operations in Leyte.

The following update from NWTF was posted on December 30th: 

Since our last update, we received confirmation that one of our loan officers from Tacloban died when her family home was swept in the storm surge. Her parents also perished in the storm. Her brother was the only survivor from the storm, but he is devastated as he also lost his child while they were hanging on against the wind and the waves.
Our disaster relief team finally got to Tacloban on December 3 after waiting for several days in Cebu to cross over to Leyte. The branch staff had returned to Leyte the previous week and had started to map and locate the clients, and so far they have identified 85 members who were lost or died during the storm. The only good news about this is that they had insurance coverage, so we are now processing the release of the insurance money to their beneficiaries.
After we heard the report from the disaster relief team, the directors decided that we hold a toy drive for the children of Leyte. So last Monday we went to give out the toys and meet with the clients in Palo, Tacloban and Ormoc. 
As mentioned in the last update, we declared moratorium based on the status of the branch:
  • C1 and C2 branches, which were the least affected were allowed to declare 1 week repayment (November 6-15) in their affected centers;
  • C3 branches were allowed to declare up to 2 weeks (Nov 6-22) moratorium;
  • C4A branches were allowed to declare 2 weeks moratorium and may extend it if the branch and area managers determine that it is necessary;
  • C4B branches were allowed to declare moratorium for the whole of November, and up to December – based on feedback from the field we may even have to extend this to January.
We sent journal updates to all Kiva lenders who lent to NWTF borrowers, and depending on the degree of impact of the location and client, we informed lenders that we may submit partial or no payment from the clients. And as usual, we uploaded the collection report as we received them from the branches.
For the worst hit branches (C4B) with an ongoing payment moratorium, we are following these rehabilitation steps: map and locate clients, and distribute relief goods; invite clients to attend a meeting and update their status and impact from the storm; conduct IGSS -- interview clients about how they plan to restart their business and if they need to do house repairs; assess whether to offer a new loan, or restructure their existing loan and offer a bridge loan; and process the loan for disbursement or restructuring.
We will soon be offering four special loans for disaster relief:
  • Restructuring of outstanding loans. We will allow repayment up to 36 months – we are still studying if we could afford to make this principal payments only with zero-interest.
  • Bridge Loans to restart their business. $23-$115 for a maximum period of 12 months (we will offer this to clients with PPI scores of <34).
  • Special Loans for house repair/rebuilding and/or to restart business activities. $23-$675 for a maximum period of 12 months.
  • Green Loans to support client’s business activities (amount to be determined by client’s capacity to pay).
These loans will likely be posted in January under the “Disaster Relief” loan attribute.

For additional updates from the Negros Women for Tomorrow Foundation, please also visit their Facebook page.

Community Economic Ventures, Inc. (Field Partner)

CEVI is part of the World Vision network, which has launched a large scale relief and recovery operation. Several members of the staff from CEVI have volunteered to assist in these efforts and are now deployed on the ground in Leyte -- one of the most severely hit areas.

We also heard from CEVI directly:
Our branches in the provinces of Iloilo, Cebu, Bohol, and Leyte were affected by typhoon, but the most severely affected are the two branches in Iloilo and two branches in Leyte. For now, communications and power supply are difficult in these provinces, but we were able to reach out to staff and thankfully they are fine. So far we've provided initial assistance such as food and water, and will proceed with a more formal assessment next week once roads are cleared and local authorities secure the area -- especially in Leyte.
You can see more photos and updates on World Vision's Facebook page.

Center for Community Transformation Credit Cooperative (Field Partner)

November 18th update provided by CCT:

The whole world heard about what happened in the Philippines and how Typhoon Haiyan destroyed some of the areas -- specifically Tacloban.
Our staff that we've been able to reach in the Visayas report that 100% of CCT community partners in the provinces of Capiz and Iloilo lost their homes, and 970 community partners in Coron, Palawan were affected. We have yet to determine the number of families affected in other areas and are still trying to establish communications with co-workers and 35 partner churches in Tacloban, Leyte.
By God's grace, CCT is mobilizing all the funds and relief goods that we can get to send to the affected areas. Some of our team members and doctors are now in Capiz assessing the damage and providing medical help. We praise God for the several churches and individuals who have expressed their desire to partner with CCT. Our Ka-Partner Network friends have also launched a fundraising site to gather donations from the US. We are coordinating with the Philippine Red Cross for us to go to Tacloban by air or land so we may help to locate and secure our partners.
We invite you to join us in this effort of helping our community partners and staff in whatever way we can.

Kiva Fellows update
We recently had two Kiva Fellows serving in the Philippines: Mike Mazur and Ron Beaton.

Mike has since moved on to Indonesia prior to Typhoon Haiyan's arrival, but was previously working in the areas now affected by the storm. Ron Beaton is currently in the northern parts of the Philippines and confirmed safe. We also have another fellow in the region, Huyen Bui, who is safe in Vietnam. 

Other ways to help

Our friends over at GlobalGiving have set up a Super Typhoon Haiyan Relief Fund and several other specialized relief projects in the wake of the storm.

TIME World has also assembled an excellent collection of NGOs and charities that are mobilizing relief efforts in the Philippines:
If you’re looking or have information on a missing person, Google Person Finder has launched a Typhoon Yolanda page. A Google Crisis Map is also available for evacuation and relief information.
The mGive Foundation is collecting donations from U.S. wireless subscribers, who can text AID to 80108 to give a $10 donation to the organization’s Philippines Typhoon Diaster Relief Fund. Charges will appear on the user’s wireless bill or will be deducted from a prepaid balance. Text STOP to 80108 to stop or HELP for assistance. Full terms are available here.
UNICEF is supporting relief efforts by helping displaced families find access to shelter, clean water, food and vaccines and airlifting $1.3 million of additional supplies from its Copenhagen warehouse. You can donate online, call 1-800-367-5437 or text RELIEF to 864233.
The Philippine Red Cross is providing a tracking service for family members looking for missing people. The organization is accepting donations on its website (100 PHP = $2.30) and is looking for volunteers to help assemble relief packages at its headquarters in Manila.
The American Red Cross has also activated a family-tracking service for those looking for a missing family member in the Philippines. Donors can send a check to their local chapter, indicating “Philippines Typhoons and Floods” in the memo line.
The World Food Programme is mobilizing 40 metric tons of high-energy biscuits and additional relief supplies, but it is also accepting donations online or by calling 1-202-747-0722 or +39-06-65131 from outside the U.S.
CARE is accepting donations on its website and has deployed workers to the Philippines to assist with emergency relief. You can donate by phone at 1-800-521-2273 or +1-404-681-2252 for international calls.
Oxfam has emergency responders on the ground to assist with relief support. The organization is asking for contributions to its Typhoon Haiyan Relief and Recovery Fund online.
International Medical Corps is also on the ground to help assess damage and is accepting donations on its emergency-response page for Haiyan relief.
ChildFund International is distributing clean water, food, blankets and other emergency aid items. Staff members are also setting up child-centered spaces in evacuation centers to offer counseling and relief for children and their families. Donate online.
Doctors Without Borders has had 15 members of an emergency team in Cebu since Saturday. The organization is sending more staff to assist with medical and psychological treatment as well as items such as medical kits, vaccines and hygiene kits over the next few days. An additional cargo with an inflatable hospital and medical material is being prepared to leave later this week. Donate online.
The International Rescue Committee has also dispatched a team of aid workers to assist in assessing the damage and providing access to clean water and hygiene and sanitation needs. The organization is asking for donations online.

As the affected countries and communities begins to rebuild themselves, we will be sure to keep you updated with news from our Southeast Asian family of Kiva borrowers and Field Partners in the coming weeks.


About the author

Brandon Smith

Brandon is from North Carolina, where he studied journalism at UNC Chapel Hill. After interning at Kiva in 2012, he joined the staff full time in 2013 to serve as the Community Marketing Coordinator, Kiva's liaison with the 25,000 lending team communities. In his spare time, Brandon enjoys medium-format photography, biking around the bay, and keeping in touch with friends and family on the east coast.