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Eritrea 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: 1,630 km
    border countries: Djibouti 113 km, Ethiopia 912 km, Sudan 605 km

    Coastline: 2,234 km total; mainland on Red Sea 1,151 km, islands in Red Sea 1,083 km

    Maritime claims: NA

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

    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 Denakil depression -75 m
    highest point: Soira 3,018 m

    Natural resources: gold, potash, zinc, copper, salt, probably oil and natural gas (currently under exploration), fish

    Land use:
    arable land: 12%
    permanent crops: 1%
    permanent pastures: 48%
    forests and woodland: 20%
    other: 19% (1993 est.)

    Irrigated land: 280 sq km (1993 est.)

    Natural hazards: frequent droughts

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

    Environment—international agreements:
    party to: Biodiversity, Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species
    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 27 April 1993

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Revised 1-Mar-99
Copyright © 1999 Photius Coutsoukis (all rights reserved)