Peace Corps Director Recognizes First Hurricane Katrina Anniversary

August 29, 2006

WASHINGTON, D.C., August 29, 2006 Following the devastation left behind in the wake of Hurricane Katrina as it hit the Gulf Coast region one year ago today, dozens of returned Peace Corps volunteers were sent to assist the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in the relief and reconstruction efforts. It was the first time in the Peace Corps' 45-year history that returned Peace Corps volunteers were deployed domestically, through the agency's Crisis Corps program.

"The presence and dedication of Crisis Corps volunteers in the Gulf region speaks to the true patriotism, selflessness and spirit of service these special men and women possess," said Peace Corps Director Gaddi H. Vasquez. "They were able to make the best of a tragic situation by jumping in with two feet and doing whatever was necessary to help improve the lives of people in the Gulf who were affected."

Some 272 returned Peace Corps volunteers donated their time and energy to helping to rebuild the Gulf region. The volunteers were engaged in various projects, including helping to open a new disaster recovery center in the Lower 9th Ward of New Orleans, the area most damaged by the hurricane. In total, Crisis Corps volunteers served 9,323 days equaling 74,584 hours of service.

Since Crisis Corps' inception in 1996, over 1,000 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 site.

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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