Peace Corps Volunteers in China Are Safe

WASHINGTON, D.C., May 12, 2008 Peace Corps Volunteers serving in China are accounted for and safe.

Earlier today, an earthquake registering 7.9 on the Richter scale occurred 55 miles northwest of the Peace Corps/China office in Chengdu, Sichuan province. There are currently 111 Peace Corps Volunteers serving in China. Individual Volunteers and local counterpart schools have collectively reported that all Volunteers are safe.

Peace Corps/Washington is in constant communication with the staff in China and the U.S. Consulate in Chengdu and U.S. Embassy in Beijing. The Peace Corps will continue to monitor and evaluate the situation and take any additional action, if necessary.

The first group of 18 Peace Corps Volunteers arrived in China in 1993 as part of a pilot education project in Sichuan province. Since then, over 500 Peace Corps Volunteers have served in China teaching English to Chinese educators and students from the middle school to the University level. Volunteers also have introduced other issues to teachers and students such as HIV/AIDS education, environmental protection, diversity and Western culture.

The safety and security of Volunteers is the number one priority of the Peace Corps. Each Peace Corps program has an Emergency Action Plan (EAP) specific to that country and developed in cooperation with the U.S. Embassy and Peace Corps/ Washington. The plans are tested frequently and information is updated constantly. Volunteers are thoroughly trained in their role and responsibilities; posts are prepared for all emergencies.

Families seeking information may contact the Peace Corps Office of Special Services, which maintains a 24-hour a day, 7 days a week duty system, at 1-800-424-8580, extension 1470. The Office of Special Services can also be contacted via e-mail at [email protected].

The Peace Corps is celebrating a 47-year legacy of service at home and abroad. Currently there are more than 8,000 Volunteers abroad, a 37-year high for Volunteers in the field. Since 1961, more than 190,000 Volunteers have helped promote a better understanding between Americans and the people of the 139 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. To learn more about the Peace Corps, please visit our website:
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