On World Humanitarian Day, Concern Worldwide Chief Executive Dominic MacSorley reflects on the increasingly dangerous circumstances facing aid workers around the world.
In the darkest of times, the humanitarian spirit shines brightest. Nowhere was this more evident to me than in the days immediately after the devastating earthquake struck Haiti in 2010.
When I flew into Port au Prince, it was like a bomb had dropped on the city. The destruction was everywhere, with dead bodies on the street, people wandering around aimlessly. No one was left unaffected.
I remember thinking ‘My God, where the hell do we even start?’ And to be honest, I really wasn’t sure until I got to the office and I met some of the Concern Haiti staff. They had all lost homes, family, or friends. Many were sleeping on the streets, and yet amazingly within 24 hours almost all had showed up to get to work on the emergency response. Wilson, our head driver, turned to me and said, “Dominic, we’re here, we are alive, and we are ready to start work. Let’s go.”
Survivors themselves, Wilson and the Concern team were still trained humanitarian professionals, hardwired to act in the interest of the community.
I knew then that the spirit of the people of Haiti had not been destroyed - it was stronger than any earthquake. It was a moment that I will never forget, a reminder that humanity and the human impulse to reach out to others is indestructible.