An International Committee of the Red Cross convoy seen crossing into eastern Ghouta near the Wafideen camp in Damascus, Syria. Photo by: REUTERS/Omar Sanadiki

GENEVA — When donors contribute to humanitarian organizations, they expect all of the aid purchased with their help to go to the intended populations — those most in need.

Yet in the world’s many areas of armed conflict and instability, aid operations managers sometimes have no choice but to divert some of their supplies to the less needy communities through which they pass; or to negotiate with armed groups operating in an area.

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About the author

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    Burton Bollag

    Burton Bollag is a freelance journalist living in Washington, D.C. He was based for a number of years in Europe (Geneva, Prague and Bratislava) and as chief international reporter for Chronicle of Higher Education reported widely from Europe, Africa and the Middle East. He has also done radio reporting (for NPR from Geneva) and TV reporting from various locations.