Peace Corps Receives $1 Million to Support Rebuilding Efforts in Tsunami Devastated Thailand and Sri Lanka

June 21, 2005

WASHINGTON, D.C., June 21, 2005 – In response to one of the world's worst natural disasters, the U.S. Congress has passed, and President George W. Bush has signed into law, emergency legislation that will transfer $1 million to the Peace Corps' Crisis Corps to help in the rebuilding efforts in Thailand and Sri Lanka.

"Once you have seen the devastating effects of the tsunamis firsthand, you cannot help but want to reach out to help in every way imaginable. These funds provided by Congress and the President will ensure the Peace Corps can help rebuild the lives of those most affected," said Peace Corps Director Gaddi H. Vasquez.

The Peace Corps will receive $450,000 to continue to support the tsunami reconstruction efforts of its Crisis Corps volunteers in Thailand through January 2006. After 2006, Peace Corps volunteers will build on the Crisis Corps' efforts by engaging in projects to restore the livelihoods of the tsunami survivors.

The Peace Corps will also receive $550,000 to support sending Crisis Corps volunteers to work in Sri Lanka on reconstruction efforts. Those endeavors will include capacity building projects and providing assistance such as housing, and rebuilding critical infrastructures, including water sanitation systems for tsunami survivors. The recovery and reconstruction funding is being provided to the Peace Corps via the Fiscal Year 2005 Emergency Supplemental Appropriations legislation.

Currently, the Peace Corps has two Crisis Corps teams in Thailand already working in database development, resource development, construction and carpentry, water systems, small business development, volunteer camp projects, and youth activities. This month, the Peace Corps will be sending the first group of Crisis Corps volunteers to Sri Lanka. The volunteers will work with the Christian Childrens Fund and World Vision to provide assistance, support, and training to local staff in the areas of disaster relief management, needs assessment, transition and permanent shelter, water and sanitation, and community development projects.

Nearly 600 returned Peace Corps volunteers have taken the opportunity to use their invaluable skills and experience to address ongoing community needs in over 30 different countries since Crisis Corps' inception in 1996. Crisis Corps volunteers work on short term projects, utilizing the skills they learned as Peace Corps volunteers and in post service careers. To find out more about the Peace Corps' Crisis Corps program, please visit the Crisis Corps section.

Since 1961, more than 178,000 volunteers have served in the Peace Corps, working in such diverse fields as education, health, HIV/AIDS education and prevention, information technology, business development, the environment, and agriculture. 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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