FSI score: 114.9
There's a reason Somalia has topped the Failed States Index for five years straight. Although the internationally recognized Transitional Federal Government gained control of the capital, Mogadishu, last August after the hard-won withdrawal of the terrorist group al-Shabab, it still lacks control of large swaths of the country, including Somaliland and Puntland in the north. The Somali police are "generally ineffective," while violence, piracy, and kidnappings are regular threats. Last year, one of the deadliest droughts in decades resulted in a famine that killed tens of thousands of people and displaced hundreds of thousands in the country, where 16 percent of the population was internally displaced in 2011 -- the highest rate worldwide. African Union and Kenyan troops are working to help bring security to Somalia, and signs of growth in Mogadishu are offering a flicker of hope, while plans to pass a new constitution and elect a new president and prime minister later this summer offer a crucial test.
Here, a Somali boy sits in the ruins of what used to be the Roman Catholic Cathedral in Mogadishu on Aug. 18, 2011. Hundreds of Somalis set up temporary shelters inside the cathedral's ruins after fleeing from their villages during the worst drought in the past 60 years.
ROBERTO SCHMIDT/AFP/Getty Images