The U.S. government maintains two lists, the State Department’s Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTO) list, and the Treasury Department’s Specially Designated Nationals (SDN) list, containing entities or individuals it believes engage in terrorist activity. It is illegal to provide these groups or individuals with material support which is defined broadly in the law to include tangible goods like food or clothing, medical services, and training in conflict mediation.
But the laws designed to block support for terrorists also make it nearly impossible for humanitarian actors to reach or offer assistance to civilians living in territory controlled by blacklisted groups. That means that in conflict zones or natural disaster areas where these groups are active, providing medical services or distributing non-medicinal necessities such as clean water, tents, blankets, and food can be prohibited.
The highlighted countries and list below are those places where both designated terrorist groups operate and humanitarian crises are ongoing. Click on one of the highlighted countries below for in-depth background information about that country’s humanitarian crises, listed terrorist groups that are active in that country, and information on the impediments humanitarian groups face in bringing aid to civilians in these areas.