The Humanitarian Response Index (HRI) aims to improve the quality and effectiveness of humanitarian aid for at-risk populations by identifying and promoting best practices for donor governments and civil society. Produced by DARA, the latest HRI says anti-terrorism measures like the “material support” prohibition make it extremely difficult for aid agencies to meet the needs of at-risk civilians.

For the 2010 HRI, several countries in crisis were examined to guage the quality of assistance. In Somalia, the report found only 44 percent of those at risk for starvation received food assistance in the second half of 2009. Some of this was due to “U.S. restrictions on funding operations in al-Shabab-controlled areas – and an overall cut in US humanitarian funds for Somalia.”

The report also found:

  • “The humanitarian response is generally insufficient, ineffective in most sectors, often provided too late, based on inaccurate data and not provided uniformly and impartially to vulnerable populations.”

  • “There is a need to clarify whether UN Security Council resolutions targeting terrorism are – as the US argues –applicable to humanitarian aid.”