“The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. Those who know your name trust in you, for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you.”Psalm 9:9-10
The contagious nature of this virus makes some humanitarian efforts counterproductive and harmful, leaving many uncertain of next steps. This is a time of much confusion, and a time for much prayer.
“We’ve never had to respond to a crisis that has simultaneously impacted every single office that we run in the world at the same time,” says Elinor Raikes, head of program delivery at the International Rescue Committee, a humanitarian organization that operates in 40 countries.
It comes at a time when they’re dealing with many crises already, from devastating drought in countries such as Angola and Pakistan to conflicts that have forced millions from their homes in Syria, Yemen and other regions. These groups provide aid in the form of food, housing, education and income to people living in some of the most desperate conditions on the planet: crammed inside refugee camps, under plastic sheeting in remote villages.
I’m among the countless international aid workers in crisis zones around the world who have been forced to make an impossible decision as the coronavirus pandemic grows. Do we follow the humanitarian imperative and “stay and deliver” despite the risks? I have chosen to follow another principle: “do no harm”.