There may be no place like home, but some locales certainly are more appealing than others.
Plenty of factors influence whether living someone is pleasant or a challenge, everything from political uncertainty to all-out war taking place. Mother Nature also can play a role in whether or not a spot is always tranquil or there are more natural disasters taking place than a game of Sim City. Poor leadership and strict policies can also get people wondering if they might be better off relocating – if that is even possible under current conditions.
Here are 10 countries that might not be so fun to live in this year.
The civil war has been going on for years and shows no immediate signs of stopping. The international community has condemned President Assad’s attacks on his own people, but the various rebel factions haven’t offered much of an organized or secure alternative. In 2013, the U.S. came close to direct intervention but pulled back as Assad agreed to dispose of chemical weapons. Refugees continue to flee to surrounding countries.
9. South Sudan
In 2011, this country declared independence from Sudan after years of internal conflicts between Muslims and non-Muslims. But it certainly is having growing pains partly due to ongoing conflicts between tribes and various militia groups. Though rich in oil reserves, the government has shut down production. By the end of 2013, more than 1,000 people were killed, and 45,000 residents displaced.
8. North Korea
Unless you’re Dennis Rodman, you may not have much fun in what’s called the world’s most closed nation. The country has a new, young leader, Kim Jong-Un, who is said to carry on and build upon the harsh policies of his father and grandfather. He recently publicly executed his uncle and some his supporters. Defectors tell stories of widespread poverty, concentration camps full of political prisoners, and limited resources. The country occasionally threatens the world with nuclear missiles which may or may not be real.
It’s hard to see the bright side when your country regularly tops the Fund for Peace’s Failed State Index like this southeast African nation has. Based on five years of research, Somalia “leads” this list in terms of poor government, poor health conditions, militia activity, and low life expectancy. Though a 10-year famine was said to have ended in 2012, many of the conditions that caused it still exist.
Travel sites do say there are some beautiful locations and that the average citizens are generally friendly. But political turmoil is high especially against U.S. interests, non-Muslims and longtime enemies in India. Its military regime has taken steps to improve the security of its nuclear program in the last year, but India still hasn’t.
The good news is that U.S. military forces are supposed to leave this country in 2014 after the longest U.S. war wraps up. However, a big question is whether the country will be able to police itself well or decline into firmly established ethnic and religious conflicts. Recent bombings are indicating that some factions may not be satisfied with the departure of Americans, but continue to advocate a larger change in government, an effort that was already present before the U.S. moved in.
Like Pakistan, there are some scenic sections, and many travelers say the local cuisine is as good as or better than other Asian countries. But instability over the outcome of the January 2014 elections has resulted in several recommendations against extensive travel here. Roads have been blockaded, and vehicles have been attacked. Political factions are also violently fighting and many transportation providers have gone on strike. Some of the more prominent figures arrested during 2013 violence are expected to go on trial this year, which could result in further conflict between their supporters and opponents.
Until recently, Kenya stayed off the list of African nations with strong links to terrorism. But a few recent incidents are causing more countries to advise caution or urging people to stay away from certain areas except for essential business. Last September, terrorists took over a mall near Nairobi. In December a campaign of bombings targeted a public bus and a car, and in earlier this year, a grenade exploded in a nightclub near Mombasa. Along with the recent spike in terrorist-related attacks, the country has also been dealing with piracy along its coast plus smaller-scale muggings and robberies.
Along with reeling and still rebuilding from a devastating earthquake, visitors to this group of islands are being urged to exercise extreme caution due to an increase in terrorism/insurgent activities. This includes the Sulu Archipelago and the island of Midano, where there is a strong threat of kidnapping and other violence against travelers. In 2013, Midano saw bombings, attacks and fighting in the streets.
This African nation has seen a good deal of instability in the last decade. Today, residents are concerned about piracy on the Gulf of Guinea, due to more armed pirates and a limited navy. Kidnappings of foreigners are becoming commonplace, according to the U.S. State Department, and victims have been taken from roadways, factories, even homes. Sometimes, official rescue missions cause more harm than good. The country’s state of emergency in several states was extended by another six months in November 2013.