In 2011 a drought in the Horn of Africa lead to food shortages. Aid groups rushed to supply aid to the countries in the region, except in southern Somali. The Islamic Courts and their military wing, al Shabab controlled Mogadishu and surrounding territory, and the American government told aid groups that if they supplied aid to the region, they could be accused of aiding terrorists.

By the time the US reversed their ban and aid was able to flow into the region, over 250 000 people had starved.