World’s most fragile country is …


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Students take notes during an English language class at the Juba Nabari Primary School in Juba, South Sudan, on Wednesday, April 9. Recent conflict in the country has made resources scarce; many civil servants, including teachers, have not received their pay for several months. South Sudan erupted in violence on December 15 when rebels loyal to ousted Vice President Riek Machar tried to stage a coup. Violence quickly spread, with reports of mass killings emerging nationwide.Students take notes during an English language class at the Juba Nabari Primary School in Juba, South Sudan, on Wednesday, April 9. Recent conflict in the country has made resources scarce; many civil servants, including teachers, have not received their pay for several months. South Sudan erupted in violence on December 15 when rebels loyal to ousted Vice President Riek Machar tried to stage a coup. Violence quickly spread, with reports of mass killings emerging nationwide.

Bags of food are dropped from a plane during a World Food Program operation Tuesday, April 1, in Nyal, South Sudan.Bags of food are dropped from a plane during a World Food Program operation Tuesday, April 1, in Nyal, South Sudan.

Worn-out shoes are seen in an internally displaced persons camp Thursday, March 27, in Juba.Worn-out shoes are seen in an internally displaced persons camp Thursday, March 27, in Juba.

Students play Tuesday, March 25, at the Dr. John Garang International School in Juba.Students play Tuesday, March 25, at the Dr. John Garang International School in Juba.

A man carries a bag on his shoulder at a camp in Malakal, South Sudan, on Wednesday, March 19.A man carries a bag on his shoulder at a camp in Malakal, South Sudan, on Wednesday, March 19.

A man recovers from serious injuries, which he sustained in clashes between government forces and rebels, at a Doctors Without Borders hospital in Malakal on Tuesday, March 18.A man recovers from serious injuries, which he sustained in clashes between government forces and rebels, at a Doctors Without Borders hospital in Malakal on Tuesday, March 18.

A South Sudanese man walks in a puddle Saturday, March 15, at a camp for internally displaced people.A South Sudanese man walks in a puddle Saturday, March 15, at a camp for internally displaced people.

Displaced children from South Sudan gather to play soccer at a camp in Khartoum, Sudan, on Wednesday, March 12.Displaced children from South Sudan gather to play soccer at a camp in Khartoum, Sudan, on Wednesday, March 12.

A woman carrying empty cans for water passes an armored vehicle affiliated with the United Nations mission in Malakal on Monday, March 3.A woman carrying empty cans for water passes an armored vehicle affiliated with the United Nations mission in Malakal on Monday, March 3.

An 8-year-old boy waits in a car during Petroleum Minister Stephen Dhieu Dau's visit to an oil production facility in Paloch, South Sudan, on Sunday, March 2. The boy's father, a member of the Sudan People's Liberation Army, said his son was dressed like a pilot because that's what he wants to be when he grows up.An 8-year-old boy waits in a car during Petroleum Minister Stephen Dhieu Dau’s visit to an oil production facility in Paloch, South Sudan, on Sunday, March 2. The boy’s father, a member of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army, said his son was dressed like a pilot because that’s what he wants to be when he grows up.

Catholics pray for peace during a religious ceremony in Juba on Sunday, February 23.Catholics pray for peace during a religious ceremony in Juba on Sunday, February 23.

People are silhouetted at dawn on Thursday, February 20, as they walk on the main road to Cueibet, South Sudan. People are silhouetted at dawn on Thursday, February 20, as they walk on the main road to Cueibet, South Sudan.

An inmate sits shackled to a tree Wednesday, February 19, in the courtyard of the central prison in Rumbek, South Sudan.An inmate sits shackled to a tree Wednesday, February 19, in the courtyard of the central prison in Rumbek, South Sudan.

South Sudanese people from the Dinka ethnic group stand among cattle at a cattle camp in Yirol, South Sudan, on Wednesday, February 12. South Sudanese people from the Dinka ethnic group stand among cattle at a cattle camp in Yirol, South Sudan, on Wednesday, February 12.

A South Sudanese People's Liberation Army soldier patrols in Malakal on Tuesday, January 21.A South Sudanese People’s Liberation Army soldier patrols in Malakal on Tuesday, January 21.

A woman runs through the street in Malakal as gunshots ring out a few streets over on January 21.A woman runs through the street in Malakal as gunshots ring out a few streets over on January 21.

A Sudan People's Liberation Army soldier sits in a helicopter flying over Western Equatoria State on Tuesday, January 14.A Sudan People’s Liberation Army soldier sits in a helicopter flying over Western Equatoria State on Tuesday, January 14.

A United Nations peacekeeper gestures as South Sudanese students wait to walk back to a camp for internally displaced people after taking an English exam at a United Nations base in Juba on Monday, January 13.A United Nations peacekeeper gestures as South Sudanese students wait to walk back to a camp for internally displaced people after taking an English exam at a United Nations base in Juba on Monday, January 13.

Government soldiers prepare to deploy from Juba on January 13 as fighting continues to rage in South Sudan. Government soldiers prepare to deploy from Juba on January 13 as fighting continues to rage in South Sudan.

A young man balances a bed on his head as he walks through empty streets and destroyed buildings after government forces retook from rebel forces the provincial capital of Bentiu, in Unity State, South Sudan, on Sunday, January 12.A young man balances a bed on his head as he walks through empty streets and destroyed buildings after government forces retook from rebel forces the provincial capital of Bentiu, in Unity State, South Sudan, on Sunday, January 12.

South Sudanese government forces riding on a vehicle through a still-smoldering town pass a boy after government forces retook the provincial capital of Bentiu on January 12.South Sudanese government forces riding on a vehicle through a still-smoldering town pass a boy after government forces retook the provincial capital of Bentiu on January 12.

A boy carries chickens off a boat arriving in the village of Minkammen in Awerial county, South Sudan, on Saturday, January 11.A boy carries chickens off a boat arriving in the village of Minkammen in Awerial county, South Sudan, on Saturday, January 11.

A picture shows an aerial view of a camp of internally displaced people in Minkammen, on Friday, January 10.A picture shows an aerial view of a camp of internally displaced people in Minkammen, on Friday, January 10.

Internally displaced children carry water in Minkammen on January 10.Internally displaced children carry water in Minkammen on January 10.

A woman covers her face as a U.N. helicopter takes off from Minkammen, where people receive food aid and other items from a recent International Committee of the Red Cross on Wednesday, January 8.A woman covers her face as a U.N. helicopter takes off from Minkammen, where people receive food aid and other items from a recent International Committee of the Red Cross on Wednesday, January 8.

A displaced south Sudanese sleeps in a makeshift shelter at a crowded encampment within the United Nations Mission in South Sudan on Saturday, January 4.A displaced south Sudanese sleeps in a makeshift shelter at a crowded encampment within the United Nations Mission in South Sudan on Saturday, January 4.

One of the few to have a mosquito net, a displaced family who fled the recent fighting between government and rebel forces in Bor by boat across the White Nile, sit under it in Awerial, South Sudan, on Thursday, January. 2.One of the few to have a mosquito net, a displaced family who fled the recent fighting between government and rebel forces in Bor by boat across the White Nile, sit under it in Awerial, South Sudan, on Thursday, January. 2.

A boy rests on the fender of a water truck Tuesday, December 31, at a United Nations compound on the outskirts of Juba, South Sudan. The compound has become home to thousands fleeing the recent fighting in South Sudan. A boy rests on the fender of a water truck Tuesday, December 31, at a United Nations compound on the outskirts of Juba, South Sudan. The compound has become home to thousands fleeing the recent fighting in South Sudan.

South Sudanese government soldiers man a tank near the airport in Malakal, South Sudan, on Monday, December 30.South Sudanese government soldiers man a tank near the airport in Malakal, South Sudan, on Monday, December 30.

Displaced women wait in line inside a U.N. camp in Malakal on December 30. Displaced women wait in line inside a U.N. camp in Malakal on December 30.

South Sudanese refugees carry relief supplies an a U.N. camp in Juba on Sunday, December 29. South Sudanese refugees carry relief supplies an a U.N. camp in Juba on Sunday, December 29.

Moveable stairs used for passengers to board aircraft are repurposed into makeshift shelters at a U.N. compound in Juba on December 29.Moveable stairs used for passengers to board aircraft are repurposed into makeshift shelters at a U.N. compound in Juba on December 29.

A child plays with a tire next to a large puddle of muddy water inside the U.N. compound in Juba on December 29.A child plays with a tire next to a large puddle of muddy water inside the U.N. compound in Juba on December 29.

A girl carries a bowl of water after filling it from a truck at the U.N. compound in Juba on December 29.A girl carries a bowl of water after filling it from a truck at the U.N. compound in Juba on December 29.

A man walks in a ward where most patients are soldiers with gunshot wounds inside the Juba Military Hospital in Juba on Saturday, December 28.A man walks in a ward where most patients are soldiers with gunshot wounds inside the Juba Military Hospital in Juba on Saturday, December 28.

South Sudan Vice President James Wani Igga, center left, arrives to visit patients at the Juba Military Hospital on December 28. South Sudan Vice President James Wani Igga, center left, arrives to visit patients at the Juba Military Hospital on December 28.

A displaced boy carries a cardboard box inside a U.N. compound in Juba on Friday, December 27.A displaced boy carries a cardboard box inside a U.N. compound in Juba on Friday, December 27.

Displaced people bathe and wash clothes in a stream in a U.N. compound in Juba on December 27.Displaced people bathe and wash clothes in a stream in a U.N. compound in Juba on December 27.

A woman carries items on her head through the U.N. compound in Juba on December 27. A woman carries items on her head through the U.N. compound in Juba on December 27.

One-month-old Nhial Hoan Malual receives treatment for dehydration and chest pains in a medical tent run by Doctors Without Borders at the U.N. compound in Juba on December 27. One-month-old Nhial Hoan Malual receives treatment for dehydration and chest pains in a medical tent run by Doctors Without Borders at the U.N. compound in Juba on December 27.

South Korean soldiers provide water at a refugee camp in South Sudan on Thursday, December 26. Hundreds of South Korean soldiers are stationed in the town of Bor as part of United Nations peacekeeping forces. South Korean soldiers provide water at a refugee camp in South Sudan on Thursday, December 26. Hundreds of South Korean soldiers are stationed in the town of Bor as part of United Nations peacekeeping forces.

A mother displaced by recent fighting in South Sudan rests on top of her belongings in a makeshift U.N. shelter on Monday, December 23.A mother displaced by recent fighting in South Sudan rests on top of her belongings in a makeshift U.N. shelter on Monday, December 23.

Families seek refuge in U.N. camp warehouse on December 23.Families seek refuge in U.N. camp warehouse on December 23.

People gather to receive emergency food rations from the World Food Programme at a makeshift camp on December 23. People gather to receive emergency food rations from the World Food Programme at a makeshift camp on December 23.

The United Nations relocates noncritical staff from Juba to Entebbe, Uganda, on Sunday, December 22.The United Nations relocates noncritical staff from Juba to Entebbe, Uganda, on Sunday, December 22.

A South Sudanese girl puts her family's laundry out to dry on a barbed-wire fence at a makeshift U.N. camp in Juba on December 22.A South Sudanese girl puts her family’s laundry out to dry on a barbed-wire fence at a makeshift U.N. camp in Juba on December 22.

The World Food Programme distributes food for displaced people at a U.N. compound in Bentiu, the capital of the oil-producing Unity state, on December 22. The World Food Programme distributes food for displaced people at a U.N. compound in Bentiu, the capital of the oil-producing Unity state, on December 22.

South Sudanese women carry water at a U.N. camp in Juba on December 22. South Sudanese women carry water at a U.N. camp in Juba on December 22.

People take refuge December 22 near a camp of Japan's Ground Self-Defense Force, which is part of the U.N. peacekeeping mission in Juba. People take refuge December 22 near a camp of Japan’s Ground Self-Defense Force, which is part of the U.N. peacekeeping mission in Juba.

South Sudanese civilians take shelter at a U.N. mission on Tuesday, December 17.South Sudanese civilians take shelter at a U.N. mission on Tuesday, December 17.

South Sudanese civilians seek shade at the mission's base on December 17. South Sudanese civilians seek shade at the mission’s base on December 17.

Tens of thousands of civilians have taken refuge in U.N. bases in South Sudan. These civilians were photographed at one of the bases December 17.Tens of thousands of civilians have taken refuge in U.N. bases in South Sudan. These civilians were photographed at one of the bases December 17.

A young child takes shelter at a U.N. base on December 17.A young child takes shelter at a U.N. base on December 17.


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(CNN) — South Sudan’s fractious leadership, mass killings and ethnic violence contributed to its No. 1 position on the list of the world’s most fragile nations, said Fund For Peace, a Washington-based nonprofit that compiles the annual list.

However, the United States — which ranked 159 on the overall list of 178 countries, followed by France and the United Kingdom in a subcategory of “very stable” countries — was among the countries that have worsened the most over the past year, a new report says.

The index is based on 12 social, economic and political indicators, including demographic pressures, poverty and economic decline, human rights and political impasse.

Until this year, the nonprofit referred to it as the list of failed states. Somalia had led the list for six years.

Somalia’s fall to second place is due to its “trajectory of improvement,” despite lawlessness, terrorism and ineffective government, the group said.


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Other countries in the top 10 are the Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo, Sudan, Chad, Afghanistan, Yemen, Haiti and Pakistan.

Syria was not left out: Its yearslong civil war placed it at No. 15.

Iran leads in improvement

The list had some surprises as well.

Iran led a pack of most-improved nations, with the report saying it had stabilized somewhat “after recent political and social turmoil.”

The most-improved group included a cluster of countries with tense relations with the United States — “quite coincidentally,” according to the report’s authors — including Zimbabwe, Cuba, Bolivia and China.

U.S. on list of worsening countries

Some developed nations picked up dubious honors, too.

France was listed as the seventh-most-worsened country this year, “largely as a result of a political and economic malaise,” the group said.

It said the United States tied with Singapore and Thailand for eighth-most-worsened country. The top nation on that list was the Central African Republic, which is deep in a conflict involving widespread atrocities.

‘Not exclusive to developing countries’

The U.S. made the list for various reasons, including the lack of bipartisanship in Congress and the partial government shutdown last year, the group said.


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“The recent worsening of the United States, France, and Singapore also shows us that instability is not exclusive to developing countries,” the group said.

The three nonetheless remain near the bottom of the overall fragility rankings, in a group of nations classified as “very stable.”

South Sudan chaos

South Sudan split from Sudan in 2011, making it the world’s youngest nation. But excitement over its independence did not last long.

Fighting erupted in December after President Salva Kiir accused Vice President Riek Machar of plotting a coup. Hundreds of thousands of people have fled their homes as forces loyal to both leaders battle it out.

The list covers the past year and excludes a handful of countries with inadequate data.

It uses indicators such as the economy, declining public services and growing refugee problems.

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