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Peace Corps Volunteers in Samoa and Tonga No Longer in Path of Cyclone Olaf

WASHINGTON, D.C., February 16, 2005 6:00 p.m. EST – Peace Corps Director Gaddi H. Vasquez today announced that the volunteers serving in Samoa and Tonga are no longer in danger, as Cyclone Olaf missed the capital of Samoa and is no longer projected to have an impact on Tonga.

"This is wonderful news," stated Director Vasquez. "As always, the Peace Corps staff in country did a thorough job of consolidating their volunteers on short notice in preparation for Cyclone Olaf. I am happy to report today that all is calm and the volunteers will be able to return to their sites soon."

Peace Corps staff in Samoa consolidated their volunteers to two separate locations in the capital city of Apia on Monday, February 14 in anticipation of Cyclone Olaf. Peace Corps staff in Tonga also took precautions and consolidated the small number of volunteers who were serving on the islands that could have potentially been in the path of Cyclone Olaf.

The Peace Corps program in Samoa opened in 1967 and since then over 1,500 have served there. Samoa is located half way between Hawaii and New Zealand in the Pacific Ocean. Volunteers focus mostly on youth and business development, health and HIV/AIDS, agriculture, income-generation, rural development, and education.

The Peace Corps has sent over 1,400 volunteers to Tonga since the commencement of its program there in 1967. The volunteers work in the areas of youth and business development, education, environmental preservation, information technology and health and HIV/AIDS. Tonga is located in the Pacific Ocean and is the first country in the world to welcome each new day. The country is ruled by a constitutional monarchy.

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