The U.S. government maintains two lists containing entities (State’s Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTO) & Treasury’s Specially Designated Nationals (SDN)) it believes engage in terrorist activity. It is illegal to provide these groups 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, 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 and why humanitarian groups face significant problems in bringing aid to civilians in these areas.