Every year, an average of 20 tropical cyclones enter the Philippines. Geographically located in the Pacific coast of the country, Albay is not only susceptible to calamities brought by these storms but also by the adverse effects of having an active volcano in its midst. As one of the provinces often placed under a state of calamity when natural disasters hit the region, the LGU promoted a culture of readiness to disasters.
In 2007, Team Albay was formed as a community driven, disaster preparedness, volunteer corps that can mobilize within 24 hours and be the first unit to arrive on the scene of a disaster and provide humanitarian relief to critical areas.
Since its formation, Team Albay has been sent to 18 humanitarian missions including the aftermath of super typhoon Yolanda in Leyte and Samar, and the rescue of stranded climbers and retrieval of the dead when Mayon Volcano erupted in 2013.
Apart from relief operations, Team Albay conducts psychosocial and medical intervention, water sanitation, rescue and recovery, feeding program, engineering intervention, and post-disaster planning in and outside of Albay. When not engaged in humanitarian operations, the volunteers also act as Tourism Protocol Officers or engage in development work as members of Team Albay’s Community Development and Economic Caravan (TACDEC).
With the assistance provided by Team Albay, the province has achieved its goal of zero casualty in major calamities; this was evident when typhoons Ruby and Glenda struck, two storms that directly hit Albay. In the effort to make Albay disaster-resilient, Team Albay has also been tasked to undertake outreach programs in the communities and promote disaster-preparedness advocacy and awareness.
What is innovative is the pooling of resources for Team Albay. Through its partnership with the LGU, the Team is also permitted to access the local disaster risk reduction and management fund. Through the TACDEC program and the pooling of logistical resources, Team Albay can stay on top of disasters before they strike and also help in the economic development of communities.