All Peace Corps Volunteers Serving in Thailand Are Safe; Agency Responds to Disaster in Eastern Asia

WASHINGTON, D.C., December 29, 2004 -The Peace Corps continues its efforts to ensure the safety of its volunteers serving in Thailand and Eastern Asia following the recent earthquake and tsunami. Director Gaddi H. Vasquez confirmed that all 84 volunteers serving in Thailand have been contacted and are unharmed.

"We are extremely thankful that all 84 volunteers serving in Thailand have been contacted and verified as safe. We had an additional 15 volunteers that were traveling through Thailand during the holiday season from their countries of assignment, and all of them are also confirmed safe," said Director Vasquez.

"At Peace Corps\' headquarters and around the world, we mourn the loss of life and devastation resulting from the earthquake and subsequent tsunami. We will continue our mission of serving the people of Thailand and Eastern Asia through this difficult time," said Director Vasquez.

Currently, the Peace Corps is assessing the longer term needs in Thailand as a result of this disaster. The agency is developing plans to deploy a number of Crisis Corps volunteers to help the citizens of Thailand in longer term reconstruction projects focused on assisting the hardest hit families, youth, schools and communities.

The Crisis Corps has responded to over 300 natural disasters since its inception in 1996. Crisis Corps volunteers are former Peace Corps volunteers who have completed at least one year of service. Crisis Corps volunteers work on short term projects, usually three to six month assignments, utilizing the skills they learned as Peace Corps volunteers and in post service careers.

Peace Corps staff in Washington remains in constant communication with staff at the post and is coordinating closely with the U.S. Embassy in Bangkok to monitor the situation.

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