Peace Corps temporarily evacuates volunteers

Kathmandu, March 20

The Peace Corps, headquartered in Washington, DC, today said it made the difficult decision to temporarily suspend all volunteer operations worldwide and begin evacuating volunteers from all posts due to COVID-19 outbreak. This includes evacuation of Peace Corps volunteers from Nepal.

This decision was precipitated by the ever-increasing number of travel restrictions throughout the world and inability of volunteers to travel back to their homes in the United States or to seek urgent medical care outside their countries of service if needed, according to a press release issued by the US Embassy in Kathmandu.

Director Dr Jody K Olsen of the Peace Corps assured that those evacuations were temporary. “We are not closing posts and programmes, and we will be ready to return to normal operation when conditions permit. Importantly, our host country staff will remain in their current positions.  They play a critical role in every element of the Peace Corps mission, especially in a time of crisis,” he said.

“I know this is a very stressful time for the world, for your country, and for the host communities that embraced our volunteers, and our host country staff.  I deeply appreciate your understanding as we work through these logistically challenging operations, and I am incredibly grateful for your continuous support for the Peace Corps,” he added.

Peace Corps has a long and deep relationship with Nepal and with Nepali communities and families. Since 1962, almost 4,000 Americans have served as Peace Corps volunteers here – working in the sector of education, environment and natural resource conservation, health, community and youth development.  Peace Corps is committed to quick return of volunteers serving in Nepal when possible.  Peace Corps staff will continue to work with our Nepalese partners and communities to prepare for their return, stated the release.

“We are profoundly grateful to the Government of Nepal and to our Nepali host families, partners and communities for incredible support, care and generosity you have shown to the Peace Corps and to our volunteers.  We look forward not only to the return of Peace Corps volunteers soon but also to the continued work that we do together,” read the release.