Putting war-torn Somalia back together has been like trying to repair a mosaic without cement: As soon as the pieces seem to be in order, it falls apart again. Clan conflicts remain unresolved, so fighting can flare up at any moment. Daily life is so dangerous and unpredictable that even relief agencies frequently have to pull out. For ordinary travelers, there is little chance that conditions will improve enough in the near future to consider a trip to Somalia.

Recent events have brought both hope and tragedy to the country. In August 2004, the first elected government since 1991 was formed. (For security reasons, the seat of government is in Kenya, not Mogadishu.) Then, in December 2004, Somalia was hit by the tsunamis that devastated much of Southeast Asia. Although the death toll was not as high as in other nations, thousands of people were displaced. The impact on the island of Hafun was especially severe and is expected to be long-lasting.

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