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Peace Corps Volunteers in Georgia are Safe

WASHINGTON, D.C., August 9, 2008 Peace Corps Director Ron Tschetter announced today that all Volunteers and trainees serving in the Republic of Georgia continue to be safe. All are accounted for and in communication with Peace Corps staff.

There are 36 Peace Corps Volunteers and 49 Peace Corps Volunteer-trainees serving in Georgia. All of the Peace Corps Volunteers and trainees in Georgia are on stand-fast mode, requiring that they remain in their communities and in regular contact with the Peace Corps/Georgia staff.

This action follows the escalation of hostilities in the Georgian separatist region of South Ossetia and the violence along the Georgian/South Ossetian border. The Peace Corps does not operate in South Ossetia, a separatist region located in the north of Georgia along its border with Russia and there are no Volunteers located in that region.

Peace Corps staff in Georgia are constantly and carefully monitoring this situation, and if necessary will take appropriate actions under the Peace Corps/Georgia Emergency Action Plan. The safety and security of Volunteers and Volunteer-trainees is the number one priority of the Peace Corps.

The Peace Corps program in Georgia was established in 2001. Since that time more than 275 Volunteers have served there. The 85 Volunteers and Volunteer-trainees currently serving in Georgia are working in English language education, business and social entrepreneurship programs.

Each Peace Corps program has an Emergency Action Plan specific to that country and developed in cooperation with Peace Corps Washington and the local U.S. Embassy. The plans are evaluated and tested frequently and information is updated constantly. Volunteers are thoroughly trained in their roles and responsibilities, and posts are prepared for all emergencies.

Families may contact the Peace Corps/Georgia Desk with any questions or concerns that may have at 202-692-2423 during business hours, and the Office of Special Services after hours. The Office of Special Services maintains a 24-hour a day, 7 days a week duty system. The telephone number during standard office hours is 1-800-424-8580, Extension 1470; the after hours number is 202-638-2574. The Office of Special Services can also be contacted via e-mail at ossdutyofficer@peacecorps.gov.

The Peace Corps is celebrating a 47-year legacy of service at home and abroad. Currently there are more than 8,000 Volunteers abroad, a 37-year high for Volunteers in the field. Since 1961, more than 190,000 Volunteers have helped promote a better understanding between Americans and the people of the 139 countries where Volunteers have served, including the Republic of Georgia. 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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