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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Somalia again is at top of failed states list

(CNN) -- For the fourth year in a row, Somalia, plagued by widespread lawlessness, piracy and an ineffective central government, tops an index of failed states.

It was followed by three other African nations -- Chad, Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo -- in the rankings of 177 nations compiled by the Fund for Peace.

Number five was Haiti, which was the most worsened nation, climbing from number 11 last year after the devastating 2010 earthquake.

"Sadly, the situation is unlikely to improve anytime soon for Haiti," wrote J.J. Messner, a Fund for Peace senior associate. "Though Haiti has every chance of improving its rank and score in 2012, its record of never ranking outside of the Failed States Index 'Worst 15' indicates that it is probably going to stay there for some time to come."

Not surprisingly, three Scandinavian states ranked the best. Finland edged out Norway for the lowest spot on the list, followed by Sweden. The United States was No. 158.

The non-profit organization uses a set of 12 indicators and its results were published Tuesday in Foreign Policy magazine.

The index translated on a color-coded map looks like this: soothing green colors in Western Europe and Canada and menacing shades of red in Africa and parts of South Asia and the Middle East. Afghanistan and Iraq are both high on the index, ranking 7 and 9 respectively.

Messner said that just because a country is high on the list does not necessarily mean it is a failed state, but that it is facing enormous social, economic and political pressures.

"But for many countries, very little is, sadly, changing," he said. "We see that for many countries there is very little improvement."

CNN's Moni Basu contributed to this report.

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