Peace Corps to Send Volunteers to Tsunami Ravaged Thailand

January 12, 2005

WASHINGTON, D.C., January 12, 2005 – To assist those people whose lives were shattered by the tsunamis in Asia, Peace Corps Director Gaddi H. Vasquez announced today that 30 former volunteers will be returning overseas as part of the Peace Corps’ Crisis Corps program in Thailand.

The volunteers will arrive shortly after Director Vasquez returns from Thailand, as part of an evaluation trip scheduled to begin on January 23. Currently, the Peace Corps has an assessment team on the ground in Thailand that Director Vasquez will meet with when he arrives.

“When the tsunamis devastated areas of Asia last month, not only were hundreds of thousands of lives tragically lost, but so were the homes and livelihoods of countless more victims,” stated Director Vasquez. “As the largest volunteer organization in the world, it is incumbent on the Peace Corps to mobilize a team of former volunteers to assist the victims and work to restore the areas hardest hit in the region.”

Following the tsunami disaster, the Peace Corps received an outpouring of support from former volunteers willing to return to the devastated area. Over 200 volunteers completed the Crisis Corps application and many more inquired about how they could help. In addition, the Peace Corps has seen a substantial increase in overall interest in Peace Corps service in the wake of the disaster.

The volunteers being sent to Thailand are uniquely qualified as the majority will be former volunteers who previously served in Thailand and speak the Thai language and know the customs and culture. The volunteers will be assisting various aid organizations in rebuilding areas devastated by the disaster.

In an effort to assist the Crisis Corps volunteers as they work to rebuild lives throughout the region, the Peace Corps has also established the Southeast Asia Tsunami Fund. Contributions to this fund will support volunteer-led projects, as volunteers address the social and economic impact of the disaster and focus on reconstruction. As with all donations to the Peace Corps Partnership Program, 100 percent of every donation will be used in the affected communities. To learn how you can support the volunteers click here.

More than 550 returned Peace Corps volunteers have served in Crisis Corps since its inception in 1996 using their invaluable skills and experience to address ongoing community needs in more than 39 different countries. Crisis Corps has responded to more than 300 natural disasters. 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:
www.peacecorps.gov/rpcv/crisiscorps.


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