We know that there is is the particle יֵשׁ and that אֵין is its negation. There is no past tense of יש, so Hebrew uses הָיָה instead. Consider the following:
2) אֵין כֶּ֫סֶף — There is no money.
1') הָיָה כֶּ֫סֶף — There was money.
2') לֹא הָיָה כֶּ֫סֶף — There was no money.
4) וַתְּהִי סְעָרָה — There was a storm.
5) וַיִּהְיוּ בָּֽתִּים רַבִּים — There were many houses.
So far, it should be pretty clear that we write There was a famine in the land of Canaan as וַיְהִי רָעָב בְּאֶ֫רֶץ כְּנַ֫עַן.
The next phrase begins with the reason behind this plague (according to the author)—that the people were sinful to the Lord (meaning, Yahweh).
I take were sinful as a stative sense of the verb לַחֲטֹא "to sin." The verb loves to follow right behind grammar words (conjunctions and the like), so the verb would jump up to be right after כִּי.
Since the people, though grammatically singular (collective), represents a group and not just one person, the verb could possibly appear as singular (grammatical concord) or as plural (constructio ad sensum). It's more common for it to go with grammatical concord, so rather than כִּי חָֽטְאוּ, let's go with כִּי חָטָא and pair it with the subject הָעָם.
The only thing left is to add to the Lord:
There was a famine in the land of Canaan, for the people were sinful ("had sinned") to the Lord.