This is especially a problem in countries like Somalis. As the Strategy Page reports,
Somalia is unique in that the locals have turned a humanitarian disaster into a business. This has been going on for fifteen years. Back then, when famine brought in aid agencies and food relief, some of the Somali warlords saw it as a business opportunity. The warlords began attacking and looting the relief convoys. The UN sent in peacekeepers, who got shot at a lot, and who soon got out. The relief agencies tried to keep operating since then, but they can only succeed if they play by Somali rules. That means, for example, that the trucks carrying food to starving Somalis, have to pay "taxes" to the warlords whose territory they pass through. The aid agencies try to negotiate these payments, but the best they can do is keep track of how many roadblocks there are along the routes the trucks have to take, and hope they gave the drivers enough cash to make it. Currently there are nearly 300 roadblocks in southern Somalia. The gunmen charge $20-$500 per truck, depending on what they think the driver can afford. It's a tricky business, as if they charge too much, or just steal the truck, the word will get around and the trucks will take another route, no matter how long it is.
the NGOs have made a killing off the perception that they are "above politics". This is of course about as true as the oft-repeated assertion that Amnesty International was created by Peter Benenson. NGOs like to play the anti-American game to the world's media, as this assures them of more positive press. And they take advantage of every corrupt member of the UN to keep their own particular hobby-horse flush with cash.
However, they are beginning to find that professional victims only attract predators. And the UN is no more capable of protecting them than it is of actually performing any of the global government functions that the NGOs so desperately want to take away from the US and give to the UN. As the article comments,
What the "aid community" has lost sight of is the fact that the idea that the UN was supposed to be "impartial" was not part of the original UN concept. The original idea was that the Great Powers (the West) would use the UN to maintain order. But since the Great Powers couldn't get along, the UN evolved its own ways. The aid community, and all those NGOs that appeared in the last half century, through they were above politics. Now they have received a reality check, and they don't like it at all.
Perhaps now maybe the NGOs and the "aid community" might realise that the only real protection comes from those who are strong-willed and tough enough to fight for themselves. That means the United States, as the only Western country powerful enough to enforce its will on a worldwide basis. And after fifty years of anti-American propaganda from the NGOs, Americans are not any too willing to spend their valuable time protecting them. What goes around comes around. Maybe even to NGOs. And if that is the case, it couldn't have happened to a more deserving group.
Hat tip to Glenn Reynolds.