The Geography of Eritrea

The Geography of Eritrea

Eritrean Geography

Location: Eastern Africa, bordering the Red Sea, between Djibouti and Sudan

Geographic coordinates: 15 00 N, 39 00 E

Map references: Africa

Area: total: 121,320 sq km land: 121,320 sq km water: 0 sq km

Area - comparative: slightly larger than Pennsylvania

Land boundaries: total: 1,626 km border countries: Djibouti 109 km, Ethiopia 912 km, Sudan 605 km

Coastline: 2,234 km (mainland on Red Sea 1,151 km, islands in Red Sea 1,083 km)

Maritime claims: territorial sea: 12 nm

Climate: hot, dry desert strip along Red Sea coast; cooler and wetter in the central highlands (up to 61 cm of rainfall annually, heaviest June to September); semiarid in western hills and lowlands

Terrain: dominated by extension of Ethiopian north-south trending highlands, descending on the east to a coastal desert plain, on the northwest to hilly terrain and on the southwest to flat-to-rolling plains

Elevation extremes: lowest point: near Kulul within the Danakil depression -75 m highest point: Soira 3,018 m

Natural resources: gold, potash, zinc, copper, salt, possibly oil and natural gas, fish

Land use: arable land: 4.78% permanent crops: 0.03% other: 95.19% (2005)

Irrigated land: 210 sq km (2003)

Natural hazards: frequent droughts; locust swarms

Environment - current issues: deforestation; desertification; soil erosion; overgrazing; loss of infrastructure from civil warfare

Environment - international agreements: party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Ozone Layer Protection signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements

Geography - note: strategic geopolitical position along world's busiest shipping lanes; Eritrea retained the entire coastline of Ethiopia along the Red Sea upon de jure independence from Ethiopia on 24 May 1993

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