Tipper Gore Praises Crisis Corps Volunteers Bound for Central America and the Caribbean
January 27, 1999Washington, D.C., January 27, 1999—Tipper Gore spoke Tuesday at a ceremony at Peace Corps headquarters honoring 23 Crisis Corps volunteers leaving for service in Central America and the Caribbean to help in the aftermath of hurricanes Mitch and Georges. "The Crisis Corps is a great example of using the unique skills of experienced Peace Corps volunteers to address the needs of developing countries," Gore said. "These Crisis Corps volunteers will provide the assistance needed to help the people of Central America and the Caribbean rebuild their homes, communities, and infra-structure. Their work there will also help our country strengthen its emergency response capabilities and offer faster, more effective assistance to others who face future natural disasters and crises." Last November, Mrs. Gore went to Central America as the head of President Clinton's delegation that visited the area. In her report to the President, among her recommendations was a call to send Crisis Corps volunteers to the region.
"We stand with you," Mrs. Gore told Antiguan ambassador Lionel Hurst and Honduran ambassador Edgardo Dumas, while thanking the volunteers for their willingness to help rebuild the affected countries.
Linda Scheu, 24 of Congers, N.Y., has just returned from two years as a Peace Corps volunteer in Honduras and is eager to go back to the same village in Honduras, this time as a Crisis Corps volunteer. "Honduras is like my second home," she said. The Crisis Corps was founded in June 1996 as a rapid response to international emergencies, such as natural disasters and humanitarian crises. By drawing on the unique combination of language, technical, and cross-cultural skills of former Peace Corps volunteers, the Crisis Corps plays an effective role in disaster response. The program enlists volunteers for a period of up to six months to work with non-governmental organizations and other relief and development agencies to help stabilize and rebuild in emergency situations. In this first group of 23 Volunteers, most will be placed in Honduras, with the remaining volunteers going to Antigua, Guatemala, and the Dominican Republic. Volunteers will assist with the coordination of long-term recovery and reconstruction efforts. These efforts will include rebuilding schools and other structures to withstand natural disasters; working with farmers to replant crops; providing education about disease control and sanitation; working with local and international organizations to improve water supplies; and providing vocational skills to youths. In February, at least 20 additional Crisis Corps Volunteers will be sent to Nicaragua and El Salvador to work on similar projects, and to the Dominican Republic to work with the United Nations World Food Program on food distribution activities.