Peace Corps Volunteers Return to Honduras; Volunteers To Continue Their Projects, Work on Community Needs
December 2, 1998Washington, D.C., December 2, 1998—Peace Corps volunteers who had been temporarily relocated to Panama after Hurricane Mitch devastated Central America have now safely returned to work in Honduras, Director Mark Gearan announced today.
"After careful consideration, we are pleased to report that it is safe for our volunteers to return to work in their communities in Honduras," said Gearan. "Most of our Peace Corps volunteers can now resume their regular work, and if their communities have a need for disaster relief or other assistance, we are encouraging the volunteers to follow through with those efforts."
A group of 13 volunteers returned to Honduras late last month to help survey all regions of the country. Thirty-eight Peace Corps volunteers, who were undergoing training, returned to their training site in Honduras last week. Volunteers whose sites have been severely damaged by the flooding are working in the capital city of Tegucigalpa until new sites for them can be found. Others are either safely returning to their sites or are working side-by-side with Peace Corps volunteers in sites that need more assistance.
Last month, Gearan announced that several dozen Crisis Corps volunteers—former Peace Corps volunteers—will begin working in El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua in early 1999. They will be assisting with infrastructure rehabilitation, and helping solve issues with potable water and sanitation, community/municipal planning, and hillside farming.
Volunteers in other countries affected by Hurricane Mitch, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Nicaragua, are working safely at their sites. More than 600 Peace Corps volunteers had been serving in the region when the hurricane hit; none was injured.
This week, Peace Corps staff from Central America and the Caribbean are meeting in Guatemala to develop a thorough post-disaster recovery plan and evaluate reconstruction opportunities.
Currently, about 6,500 Peace Corps volunteers are working in 80 countries to bring clean water to communities, teach children, protect the environment, help start new businesses, and prevent the spread of AIDS. Since 1961, more than 150,000 Americans have joined the Peace Corps.