Crisis Corps Volunteers to Aid in Flood Relief in Czech Republic
September 15, 1997Washington, D.C., September 15, 1997—Peace Corps will send Crisis Corps volunteers to the Czech Republic on Tuesday, September 16, to assist flood-relief efforts. Peace Corps Director Mark Gearan will swear-in the seven volunteers on the day of their departure at a 10:30 a.m. ceremony at Peace Corps headquarters. "Peace Corps—through the Crisis Corps—is in a unique position to respond to the flooding in Eastern Europe," said Gearan. "The seven Crisis Corps volunteers are all former Peace Corps volunteers who served in the Czech Republic, so they are fluent in the Czech language and can hit the ground running because they also know the culture, customs and landscape of the country." In early July, torrential rains fell in the eastern portions of the Czech Republic (Moravia, Silesia, and eastern Bohemia) and in southern Poland. The widespread flooding forced thousands to flee their homes, badly damaged the transportation and economic infrastructure, destroyed crop lands, and contaminated water supplies. While the emergency phase is over, assistance in recovery and reconstruction is urgently needed. According to Crisis Corps Director Joan Timoney, the volunteers will be in the Czech Republic for three months. They will be assigned to municipalities in Moravia as resource specialists, working with local officials to help plan reconstruction activities. The Crisis Corps was founded in June 1996 as a rapid response to international emergencies such as natural disasters and humanitarian crises. By drawing on the unique combination of language, technical, and cross-cultural skills of current and returned volunteers, the Crisis Corps plays an effective role in disaster response. The program enlists volunteers for a period of no more than six months to work with non-governmental organizations and other relief and development agencies to help stabilize and rebuild in emergency situations. Peace Corps volunteers worked in the Czech Republic from 1990 to 1997. The seven Crisis Corps volunteers will work very closely with the Bohemia Corps, a Czech-based volunteer organization. Gearan will swear-in the seven Crisis Corps volunteers at a special ceremony on Tuesday, September 16, 10:30 a.m., Peace Corps Headquarters, 1990 K Street N.W., 7th floor conference room.