A Case for Long-Term Crisis Support in Response to Afghanistan
Over the past several days, social media has launched us into a real-time, graphic glimpse of the trauma in Afghanistan as we instantaneously receive photos, videos, and stories of victims in crisis. Whatever your immediate response has been to these images – giving financially to a relief organization, praying for the people, grieving over their current realities, or sharing a social media graphic – know that the people of Afghanistan will need more than just immediate help to achieve lasting transformation.
Even when the news cycle stops discussing it, the Church should be starting a new phase of crisis response. But what will sustainable, long-term support look like in this situation?
The graphic below, adapted from the International Association of Refugees (IAFR), is an excellent visualization of how we should respond to any crisis situation. On this chart, our work at OneHope falls under the banner of recovery work. Once humanitarian aid needs are largely met and the situation is stabilized, OneHope and other ministries are able to begin meeting long-term spiritual and emotional needs.
One example of this type of recovery work at OneHope happened in response to the Syrian refugee crisis. We partnered with our friends at Biblica to create a specialized edition of the Book of Hope called The Survivors – a contextualized book designed to meet the psychosocial needs of refugee children. As refugee children often suffer from Human Devastation Syndrome, they need to be presented with the Good News and provided a framework to begin processing and redeeming their trauma as they walk with Christ. We anticipate utilizing similar trauma-informed programs in the wake of the Afghanistan crisis.
While this post-crisis recovery work may not get as much media attention as the immediate aid relief, I urge believers to recognize its importance. Yes, we have to care for immediate physical needs and address ongoing therapeutic needs, but as the hands and feet of Christ, we must bring long-term, sustainable support in addition to shalom – the peace that only comes from God’s Word.