For the past few years, civil society has played a considerable role in rapid response work during severe weather events. Civil society has mobilized in support of communities providing much needed response work from yielding critical information on the ground, doing rescue work, to implementing relief programs. Looking at the history of the recent super typhoons that hit the Philippines from Manila to the Visayas and Mindanao, it is the outdoor adventure communities who were quick to mobilize and first to respond, notably in many hard to reach areas. Based on the collective experience of the outdoor community, many of whom volunteer for aid agencies, a clear gap exists – between the time an extreme weather event makes landfall affecting communities and the arrival of useful aid based on valid up to date information from the ground. Rapid assessment directed to aid agencies provides this needed information allowing them to respond with aid which is more targeted, relevant and impactful. In many severe weather events infrastructure for telecommunications and roads are rendered useless for a period of time which makes providing rapid assessments more difficult. Further, LGU’s which are responsible for assessments – as well as coordination, communication and rapid response, are also adversley affected; creating another vacuum of information. It is this gap that Team 48 would aspire/intend to help fill, with the most capable teams of volunteers from the outdoor community ready to engage in rapid pre-deployment, providing on-site assessments using modern equipment, looking to shorten the response time for useful and appropriate aid to arrive.
Team 48 aims to establish a national network of skilled rapid response and assessment volunteers who, strategically situated in key areas throughout the country, are capable of accessing critical disaster locations by pre-deployment before a severe typhoon strikes. This allows the teams to move in immediately to aid afflicted areas. The teams forming the network are small, self-sufficient, agile; and trained in logistics, communications, and deployment of small scale renewable energy. The Team’s efforts seek to provide a pragmatic solution to a neglected aspect of disaster relief. The mission is to achieve three primary objectives within 48 hours from time zero:
1. Provide initial situational report, needs assessments and information from ground zero of a climate-related disaster for various partner agencies, relevant government institutions, disaster rescue/response workers rapid assessment and other aid related agencies and organizations with the aim of speeding up the provision of targeted and appropriate aid.
2. Provide stop gap emergency communications capabilities for local decision makers or aid facilitators until regular communications facilities are available.
3. Provide information accessible to the public of the situation on site such as safety and security, road conditions, status of infrastructure, telecommunications.