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Crisis Corps Volunteers Head to Guatemala

WASHINGTON, D.C., January 31, 2006 Today, the first group of Crisis Corps volunteers departed for Guatemala to assist in the reconstruction efforts following the devastation left in the wake of Octobers Hurricane Stan. A second group will be deployed toward the end of February.

"These Crisis Corps volunteers have already demonstrated a commitment to public service in their Peace Corps experience, and now they are embarking on a completely new challenge disaster relief. The expertise these volunteers bring to the table will be critical in helping rebuild this hurricane-stricken country of nearly 11.5 million people," said Peace Corps Director Gaddi H. Vasquez.

The damage from Hurricane Stan is extensive. The storm devastated large areas of the western highlands and southern coast of Guatemala. Damage estimates are still preliminary: 1,500 dead or missing; more than 800 communities heavily impacted; agricultural crops lost; 772 schools damaged or destroyed; key bridges and over 825 km of roads damaged.

To help assist the reconstruction efforts, volunteers will spend six months working to rebuild some of the most impacted parts of Guatemala, partnering with various nongovernmental organizations to offer their service in the areas of water and sanitation, environment and forestry, agriculture, and health promotion.

The Crisis Corps team joins 181 Peace Corps volunteers and trainees currently assigned to Guatemala. Volunteers have been serving in this Central American nation since 1963, working on projects in agriculture, environment, health and business development.

To donate online to the Guatemala Relief Fund, please visit the Donate Now section. One hundred percent of the donations will go to recovery projects that involve Peace Corps volunteers or Crisis Corps volunteers.

Since Crisis Corps' inception in 1996, hundreds of returned Peace Corps volunteers have taken the opportunity to use their invaluable skills and experience to address ongoing community needs in over 40 different countries. Crisis Corps volunteers work on short term projects, utilizing the skills they learned as Peace Corps volunteers and in post service careers. To find out more about the Peace Corps' Crisis Corps program, please visit the Crisis Corps section.

Since 1961, more than 182,000 volunteers have served in the Peace Corps, working in such diverse fields as education, health, HIV/AIDS education and prevention, information technology, business development, the environment, and agriculture. Peace Corps volunteers must be U.S. citizens and at least 18 years of age. Peace Corps service is a 27-month commitment.

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