1. Home
  2. West Africa
  3. Mali

Aid access and aid worker safety: Delivering help in a war zone

A local responder educates about Ebola in Congo IFRC
Karungi Shamillah, 27, a Red Cross volunteer in her own community in Majada, Uganda, close to the border of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, educating communities about Ebola.

In the Democratic Republic of Congo, violent clashes are continuing to hamper efforts to contain the most recent Ebola outbreak. Operations were suspended again after two Ebola health workers were killed last week – the latest in a string of attacks thwarting containment efforts.

In Libya, Yemen, and Syria, meanwhile, ongoing fighting has thwarted food deliveries and other humanitarian operations. Airstrikes have routinely destroyed hospitals and killed health workers.

Last year was the second worst year for aid worker security with 399 aid workers affected by major violence in 221 separate attacks. In Syria, more than 76 health workers were killed last year, making it one of the most dangerous places to work.

Conflict is also leading to government blockages or suspension of aid. A recent report from the UK think tank Chatham House showed how aid has been politicised in Syria. Similarly, a UN official warned on 17 July that Yemenis were dying because of funding delays from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates – two countries involved in the Yemen war.

Our round-up this week explores how armed conflict hampers humanitarian aid, the challenges relief organisations face while operating in conflict zones, and the ways in which they are navigating them.

Central African Republic, part 2: ‘We have become the targets’

As aid workers became caught up in CAR’s fast-fragmenting conflict, it made it incredibly difficult for them to provide even basic services to civilians.

What is humanitarian deconfliction?

How aid agencies try to avoid getting bombed in Yemen and Syria.

For medical workers in South Sudan, just reaching the sick is a challenge

Saving lives in a country beset by civil war is impossible without access to the wounded and the sick.

First Person: To stop Ebola, ask the rebels to help

Earning the trust of affected communities is essential – especially in active conflict zones.

In militarised Mali, humanitarian responders say aid is an afterthought

Needs are rising, but threats and poor communication between the many actors are hindering the ability of aid groups to provide assistance.

A boy stands in the middle of a displacement camp on a church compound near Myitkyina

In northern Myanmar, a long-forgotten conflict flares out of view

Aid restrictions leave tens of thousands stranded in a war that spans generations.

Militant attacks complicate cyclone response in Mozambique’s Cabo Delgado

Ravaged by two cyclones in quick succession, sporadic violence in the country’s restive north has disrupted aid deliveries.

Two children walk amongst rubble as seen through a barbed wire fence

Mosul: Lives saved, credibility lost?

When medical aid groups step in for militaries in war zones, not all the consequences are good.

Afghan attacks force aid rethink, leave local NGOs more exposed

As big international aid groups pull back, local NGOs find themselves increasingly in the crosshairs.

Six months after US sanctions lifted, promised aid access in Sudan remains limited

One in 10 people need assistance, while wrangling with rebels over access continues.

(TOP PHOTO: Karungi Shamillah, 27, a Red Cross volunteer in her own community in Majada, Uganda, close to the border of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, educating communities about Ebola.)

Share this article

Get the day’s top headlines in your inbox every morning

Starting at just $5 a month, you can become a member of The New Humanitarian and receive our premium newsletter, DAWNS Digest.

DAWNS Digest has been the trusted essential morning read for global aid and foreign policy professionals for more than 10 years.

Government, media, global governance organisations, NGOs, academics, and more subscribe to DAWNS to receive the day’s top global headlines of news and analysis in their inboxes every weekday morning.

It’s the perfect way to start your day.

Become a member of The New Humanitarian today and you’ll automatically be subscribed to DAWNS Digest – free of charge.

Become a member of The New Humanitarian

Support our journalism and become more involved in our community. Help us deliver informative, accessible, independent journalism that you can trust and provides accountability to the millions of people affected by crises worldwide.