Friday, December 26, 2008

[PC Guinea news] Guinea PCVs safe and accounted for

From: Peace Corps headquarters

WASHINGTON, D.C., December 23, 2008 - Peace Corps Director Ron Tschetter announced today that all Volunteers serving in Guinea are accounted for and safe.

There are 87 Peace Corps Volunteers serving in Guinea. All of the Peace Corps Volunteers in Guinea are on stand-fast mode, requiring that they remain in their communities and remain in regular contact with the Peace Corps/Guinea staff.

This action follows the announcement that Guinean President Lansana Conte has passed away, and that a "Consultative Council" made up of "military and civilian people" has come into power. The Guinean constitution has temporarily been suspended, and those now in power have asked people in Guinea to remain calm.

Peace Corps staff in Guinea are working closely with the U.S. Embassy and are constantly and carefully monitoring this situation. They will, if necessary, take appropriate actions under the Peace Corps/Guinea Emergency Action Plan. The safety and security of Volunteers and Volunteer-trainees is the number one priority of the Peace Corps.

Over 1,241 Peace Corps Volunteers have served in Guinea since the program was established in 1962. The program was briefly closed from 1966 to 1969, and again from 1971 to 1985. Upon re-opening in 1985, Volunteers in this West African nation have worked in the areas of education, environment, small enterprise development, and public health and HIV/AIDS awareness.

Each Peace Corps program has an Emergency Action Plan specific to that country and developed in cooperation with Peace Corps Washington and the local U.S. Embassy. The plans are evaluated and tested frequently and information is updated constantly. Volunteers are thoroughly trained in their roles and responsibilities, and posts are prepared for all emergencies.

Families may contact the Peace Corps/Guinea Desk with any questions or concerns that may have at 202-692-2328 during business hours, and the Office of Special Services after hours. The Office of Special Services maintains a 24-hour a day, 7 days a week duty system. The telephone number during standard office hours is 1-800-424-8580, Extension 1470; the after hours number is 202-638-2574.

The Office of Special Services can also be contacted via e-mail at

As the Peace Corps approaches its 50th anniversary, its service legacy continues to promote peace and friendship around the world. Historically, over 195,000 Volunteers have helped promote a better understanding between Americans and the people of the 139 countries in which they have served. Applications to serve in the Peace Corps have increased 16 percent this past year, the largest boost in the last five years. Currently, 7,876 Peace Corps Volunteers are serving in 76 countries, including Liberia. 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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