Peace Corps Volunteers Support Guatemala Relief Efforts

WASHINGTON, D.C., October 21, 2005 Peace Corps volunteers have rapidly responded to the devastation in Guatemala caused by mudslides related to Hurricane Stan.

Following the hurricane, many volunteers began reconstruction efforts by working with disaster relief officials on damage assessment, assisting with relief operations, volunteering at temporary shelters, and helping families repair houses and schools.

For example, volunteer Eric Black was working on GPS/GIS satellite navigation mapping projects in Tacan before the hurricane. When the disaster struck, his maps were immediately put into action. Rescue helicopters used Blacks GPS system to deliver food and water supplies to remote areas that were without aid for days. Black is now assisting with relief and reconstruction assessment. His written report which included a detailed map and specific requests for financial and material resources was recognized as an important document to help in the relief efforts and was applauded by Guatemalan President Oscar Berger during his visit to the city.

Volunteer Amanda Flayer assists with youth activity in her community following the hurricane, which displaced many families in the area.
Volunteer Amanda Flayer assists with youth activity in her community following the hurricane, which displaced many families in the area.
In Santiago, one of the hardest-hit towns, volunteers Katy Blakemore and Amanda Flayer used their internet telephone connection to contact the Peace Corps office and help locate volunteers in other hard-hit, rural communities. They are now back in Santiago supporting relief efforts by coordinating food preparation in makeshift shelters, advising women on the importance of basic hygiene to avoid disease, and guiding arriving international aid organizations.

To assist the efforts of these and other Guatemala volunteers, the Peace Corps has established a Guatemala Reconstruction Fund to help volunteers rebuild communities throughout the country. The Guatemala Reconstruction Fund which has been established through the Peace Corps Office of Private Sector Initiatives will support volunteer-led projects that address the social and economic impact of this disaster.

For more information or to make a donation to the Guatemala Reconstruction Fund, please call 800-424-8580, or visit the Donate Now section.

Peace Corps has had a continuous presence in Guatemala since the signing of a partnership agreement on December 28, 1962. Presently, 189 volunteers work in the areas of agriculture, the environment, health, small businesses and rural youth opportunities. Since the program began, over 4,000 volunteers have developed innovative projects across the country to assist the people of Guatemala. To learn more about Guatemala, please visit the Where Do Volunteers Go? section.

Since 1961, more than 182,000 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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