Helping where help is needed!

Disasters hit the poor the hardest! Unfortunately, this is all too often true. The past months have shown that disasters increase poverty there where people have always been poor. Some thoughts on World Humanitarian Day.

August 19th is an important day in the calendar, especially since it reminds us of the many, many people living in poverty and misery. The UN commemorative day is a reminder that solidarity, togetherness, compassion, aid, and mercy are good words. Helping others is a human necessity precisely because wars, armed conflicts, oppression, persecution, and discrimination are opposed to it. Who else should help, if not one human being another?

Critical hot spots

Here are only a few of the crises in this crisis-ridden year 2021:

  • Even a year after the huge explosion in Beirut’s port, the people are still suffering from the immense after-effects. People were severely injured and are still suffering both physically and psychologically. Food costs 700 per cent more than before the explosion, electricity is available only intermittently. The Lebanese pound has plummeted. Many people have no idea how they are going to feed their families. “It feels as though the catastrophe happened only yesterday,” CARE staff member Bujar Hoxha describes the current situation in Beirut.
  • Rich European countries are also suffering, such as Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, France, and Austria following flash floods just a few weeks ago. Or Greece and Turkey, where fires have been raging that stop at nothing and no one. Many people have lost everything: their belongings, their memories, their hope.
  • Thank God the UN Security Council decided to keep the Bab al-Hawa border crossing in north-western Syria open, allowing UN-led aid delivery to about four million people. It is a fragile agreement, because the other border crossings remain closed, although the people there need humanitarian aid just as urgently.
  • In the Democratic Republic of the Congo more than 27 million people are suffering from acute food insecurity. The North Kivu region with its capital Goma is severely affected by a hunger crisis. Following a renewed eruption of the Nyiragongo Volcano in May this year, people were forced to flee their homes.

War in Yemen; a locust swarms in Somalia; hardship and misery in Afghanistan; hundreds of thousands of COVID victims in India and Nepal: the list of disaster areas is nearly endless. And finally, there is also always the concern for planet Earth.

Giving and taking

What now? In view of all the problems, it is hardly easy to come up with a short answer. Keep going and keep believing is how Chief Apostle Jean-Luc Schneider recently expressed it in one of his sermons. Hope and confidence are Christian characteristics. In spite of all this hardship and misery, our faith in God’s support, in the companionship of Jesus, must not diminish. Sharing, of course, plays an important role: sharing what we have, sharing our time, sharing good thoughts, and being benevolent. Strictly arithmetically, if every individual helped another individual in need, many problems could be eliminated. Even if things are not as easy as that, it is still worth thinking about. Giving and taking: an eternal cycle.

The New Apostolic Church has various aid organisations around the world. Here is a list:

Photo: Riccardo Niels Mayer -

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Peter Johanning
Social commitment