The COVID-19 pandemic exposed and deepened economic, social, political, and environmental fault lines on a compressed timescale. In developing countries and fragile states in particular, new layers of conflict and vulnerability emerged. Hard-won progress towards reaching the Sustainable Development Goals began to dwindle and dissipate. Governments had to respond quickly. But the speed that was needed to generate viable solutions, as well as the accompanying resource implications, left little room for traditional forms of evaluation. Many evaluators appear to have been caught flat-footed by restrictions resulting from the pandemic environment, especially limits on travel and onsite work. Border closures, travel restrictions, and quarantine limited in-person evaluations and personal contacts with clients, informants, and colleagues. The task was made more complex as the measures taken by states in response to the crisis differed in many ways from other kinds of emergencies.