US Peace Corps volunteers leave Lesotho

BOKANG MAKHOA

MASERU – The threat of the global COVID-19 outbreak has forced the United States of America (US) to temporarily cease operations in countries they are deployed in across the world. US Peace Corps director, Judy Olsen, issued a statement on Sunday March 15 suspending all programmes and announcing the evacuation of all concerned US citizens, a preemptive step against potential infection.

Olsen announced the suspension of all volunteer activities globally, Lesotho included, due to the outbreak and subsequent travel constraints and closures of schools and public places, imminent economic collapse.

“Following on evacuations that have taken place in certain countries, all Peace Corps Lesotho will temporarily suspend its program and is working with volunteers, host communities, and host country officials to evacuate Lesotho based volunteers as soon as possible,” the statement said.

The US office has, however, taken note that it’s been more than 50 years of the US Peace Corps’ presence in Lesotho, with them acting as a pillar of the partnership existing between the two countries.

“The Peace Corps Lesotho office is not closing, all parties will work to resume operations as soon as possible when conditions normalize. I also want to assure you and our host country partners that these evacuations represent the temporary suspension of volunteer activities.

We are not closing posts, and we will be ready to return to normal operations 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 time of crisis”, said Olsen. The Peace Corps sends Americans with a passion for service abroad on behalf of their country to work with communities and create lasting change.

Volunteers develop sustainable agriculture, the environment and youth development, through their Peace Corps experience, volunteers gain unique cultural understanding and a lifelong commitment to service that positions them to succeed in today’s global economy.

Since the 1961 establishment of the Peace Corps by US President John F Kennedy, more than 235 000 Americans of all ages have served in 141 countries worldwide.

 

 

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