Pasig City, Metro Manila (November 24, 2009)—Some of Mentors Internationals’ partner organizations were greatly impacted by severe floods and tropical storms, including Manila, Philippines in September and El Salvador in November. Our directors, mentors, and staff in these partner organizations have been exemplary during these trying times.
“Thank you for your kind concern,” wrote Jovy Guanzon, regional PMDF (Mentors Philippines) director. “By God’s mercy, many were spared from the horrifying rampage of the recent floods.”
A total of 2,442 clients were severely affected by the floods and storms, half of them from Mentors’ Pasig Branch. Families numbering 265 lost their homes, while 1,538 clients lost their business assets. Four lost members of their immediate families. Communications were greatly impeded for a time and most of those severely affected were in the midst of thousands of other refugees in government shelters.
In addition, Manila staff members were stranded in their provinces due to impassable roads. Two offices were inundated with chest-high waters, and the employees were forced to ride in small make-shift boats in order to reach their offices. Pasig City turned into a Venice of sorts, with mostly small boats and floaters plying the road-turned waterways. Since Metro Manila is close to a large lake, a basi where all other flood waters flow, it took a couple of weeks for the waters to recede.
“We have been able to mobilize our loan officers, staff and clients,” said Jovy, “ to donate clothes, sandals, slippers, shoes, blankets, cooking utensils and whatever they could spare for distribution to those affected.”
Mentors Philippines responded to the disaster immediately, freezing the loans of affected clients for a certain period, and restructuring others. In addition, affected centers were allowed to partially make use of their Center Savings Fund to provide very urgent relief goods that their members needed.
Mentors board members also made an extra donation of $12,000 to help Philippines employees who were adversely impacted by the floods. Many expressed deep gratitude for the assistance that came in response to the life-threatening event.
“My heart is full for the outpouring of concern and support we have received from you,” he continued. When tragedies strike, it brings so much fear and anguish for those directly and indirectly affected. But oh, what joy and what comfort it brings when friends come to the rescue and help out.”
In spite of the severe tropical storm that impacted El Salvador in November, executive director Carlos Rivas reported that all staff and clients have been properly accounted for.