Crisis Corps Closes Sri Lanka Program

WASHINGTON, D.C. August 16, 2006 Peace Corps Director Gaddi H. Vasquez today announced the closure of the Peace Corps\' Crisis Corps program in Sri Lanka.

The safety and security of volunteers is the highest priority of the Peace Corps. Given increased concerns for the welfare of volunteers, the decision has been made to close the program in Sri Lanka five weeks earlier than planned.

"After visiting Sri Lanka following the tsunami of December 2004, I knew the Peace Corps had to participate in reconstruction efforts," commented Director Vasquez. "The devastation and need was overwhelming and while this decision is very difficult, I can say with certainty that the Crisis Corps volunteers have had a positive impact on reconstruction efforts and the healing process of those with whom they have served."

The first Crisis Corps volunteers to serve in Sri Lanka arrived in June 2005, just months after the devastating tsunami that rocked South East Asia. Volunteers have been providing technical expertise to partner organizations helping to develop the capacity of the local staff. Projects have spanned the coastal areas focusing on public health, water sanitation, shelter reconstruction and management, community liaison capacity building, institutional development and financial and human resources administrative support.

To date, 46 volunteers have served in Sri Lanka, making it the largest stand-alone program in the Crisis Corps\' 10-year history, aside from the domestic efforts after Hurricane Katrina in the Gulf Coast region.

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 learn more about the Peace Corps\' Crisis Corps program, please visit the Crisis Corps section.

The Peace Corps is celebrating a 45-year legacy of service at home and abroad, and a 30-year high for volunteers in the field. Since 1961, more than 182,000 volunteers have helped promote a better understanding between Americans and the people of the 138 countries where volunteers have served. 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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