During the last half-decade, the Fund for Peace has been putting together the Failed States Index, using a battery of indicators that determine how stable (or unstable) a country is. As a result, we have taken the top 60, or should we say worst 60 Failed Countries of the World.
But as much as we admire the stats and numbers there is no better way but as the photos that demonstrate the degree of failure of a country. The best test is the simplest one, which is that you’ll only know a failed state when you see it.
And these photographs captured by the all seeing eye of the camera are, as they seem, true postcards from hell. As an example, we’ll make a rough start with country No.1: Somalia.
Hint: Click on image to see the larger version
Somalia has topped the Failed States Index for the last three years — a testament not only to the depth of the country’s long-running political and humanitarian disaster, but also, to the international community’s inability to find an answer. After two decades of chaos, the country is today largely under the control of Islamist militant groups, the most notorious and powerful of which is al-Shabab. A second faction, Hizbul Islam, rivals the former in brutality — it recently executed two Somalis for the crime of watching the World Cup. Off the coast, pirates such as the men pictured here torment passing ships, often holding them hostage for a high price. In 2009, Somali pirates earned an estimated $89 million in ransom payments.
Chad’s troubles are often written off as spillover from the conflict taking place in next-door Darfur, Sudan. But this central African country has plenty of problems of its own. An indigenous conflict has displaced approximately 200,000, and life under the paranoid rule of Chadian President Idriss Déby is increasingly miserable. Déby has arrested opposition figures and redirected humanitarian funding to the military in recent years. Matters might soon get worse as the U.N. peacekeeping mission in the country’s east, where the bulk of the refugees reside, begins to depart on July 15. Pictured here, local Chadians in the village of Dankouche struggle to share scarce resources such as firewood with a nearby Sudanese refugee camp.
The next year will prove a decisive one for Sudan, perhaps more so than any other since the country’s independence in 1956. In January 2011, the people of South Sudan will vote in a referendum on whether they would prefer to remain an autonomous region — or secede as an independent state. All analysts predict it will be the latter, but they are equally certain that it won’t be so easy. President Omar Hassan al-Bashir is likely to cling close to his control of the South, where much of the country’s oil riches lie. This is to say nothing of Darfur, where peacekeepers recently reported an uptick in v****nce with hundreds k***ed. In this scene, children crowd around a U.N. helicopter in the South Sudanese town of Akobo.