Al Shabaab and the challenges of providing humanitarian assistance in somalia

UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe

Thousands of Somalis have fled drought and famine in their home country to Dollo Ado, Ethiopia where a complex of camps is assisted by the UN Refugee Agency.

Article Highlights

  • Denial of access by al Shabaab militants, is the single greatest obstacle to the provision of humanitarian assistance

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  • Any humanitarian aid operation in southern #Somalia will require a military commitment

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  • Humanitarian efforts in #Somalia will be met with with significant resistance

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Somalia is one of the most inimical countries to humanitarian aid workers. The security context and the humanitarian operational environment that both local and international aid agencies face have severely restricted humanitarian activities, particularly in areas under the control of the radical Islamist group, al Shabaab. Aid organizations responded to al Shabaab’s threats by limiting areas of operations or fully suspending operations in southern Somalia. The majority of the organizations that remain active in Somalia have concentrated operations in and around territory under government control in Mogadishu, territory under the control of government-aligned administrations in central Somalia, and in the semi-autonomous regions in northern Somalia of Puntland and Somaliland. In the south, the withdrawal of humanitarian aid organizations has exacerbated the effect of the Horn’s severe drought on the Somali people.

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