U.S. May Alter Rules To Let More Aid Into Somalia

August 2, 2011

Bill Chappell

Tony Karumba
Somali refugees wait at dawn at a registration center at the Dadaab refugee complex in Kenya Tuesday, to receive aid after having been displaced from their homes in southern Somalia by famine.

Efforts to help people in southern Somalia, where famine relief efforts have been stymied by al-Shabaab, a group on the U.S. terrorism watchlist, may get easier in the coming weeks. That's because pending changes to U.S. rules will allow aid groups to deliver food in those areas, according to an AP report.

Citing sources who wished to remain anonymous, the AP says:

Officials say the U.S. has issued new guidelines to reassure humanitarian organizations trying to airlift food into Somalia. Charities must pledge their best efforts to combat attempts by the al-Qaida-linked al-Shabab group to hoard the aid or collect taxes.

The U.N. humanitarian office recently called for more aid to the 12.4 million people affected by famine across the Horn of Africa.

As NPR reported last week, some Somalis in America — including former refugees — have been holding charity benefits to try to help those back home. And in The New York Times, Jeffrey Gentleman writes about the desperate lives of people caught between al-Shabaab and a drought.

U.S. officials have become increasingly frustrated that the drought, al-Shabaab and anti-terrorism rules have all made a difficult situation even tougher, as NPR's Michele Kelemen reported over the weekend.

Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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