Team Albay is sending another humaitarian team, this time, to Eastern Visayan provinces ravaged by typhoon Yolanda. The group is composed of 179 highly spirited volunteers, from the Office of Civil Defense 5. They left Legazpi city at about 8:40 p.m. Saturday, in a convoy of 14 vehicles bound for Leyte and Samar. A predeparture ceremony of prayers and blessings was officiated by two priests, Fr. Nick Bilono of the Albay Cathedral and Major Denis Bulanday, chaplain of the Naval Forces for Southern Luzon.
The eight-service-delivery-team contingent left on board two coasters, two buses, four trucks and six support vehicles that include one ambulance and immediately hit the road going down south where their brothers and sisters, badly devastated by super typhoon “Yolanda,” are waiting in anguish and suffering.
This 11th mission of Team Albay-OCD5 is the biggest and the most quickly-dispatched mercy and goodwill mission, according to Albay Gov. Joey Sarte Salceda.
An anonymous person gave Team Albay P180,000 worth of supplies before it left, Salceda said.
“I have been inundated with offers to join the humanitarian mission of Team Albay to Leyte and Samar. We appreciate the spirit of volunteerism among Albayanos who wish to pay forward and return the favor for help received from the nation in so many periods of distress before,” the governor said, echoing the sentiments of countless Albayanos, who have also wished the team members good luck and a safety travel across the treacherous San Bernardino and along perhaps, destroyed roads.
Nonetheless, he added, Team Albay makes a difference by infusing skills and resources that are difficult to find in the affected communities.
“Thus, we are composed of well-trained and well-experienced personnel in search and rescue in land and water, in operating water filtration machines and water distribution, in providing medical health in post disaster emergency and in psychosocial care,” he explained.
“Dios mabalos, your expression of support and offer to help is a source of inspiration,” Salceda said.
During Reming, he said, Albay went through just as worst or even worse — 464 millimeters of rainfall and 246 kilometers per hour winds plus 30 million cubic meters of lahar flows down Mayon, which is the equivalent of storm surge but no ransacking happened.
It must be recalled that Team Albay have previously launched mercy missions, counting one recently conducted in the earthquake-ravaged Bohol last month. (PNA report by Floreno G. Solmirano)