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Eritrea Geography Profile

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Location
Eastern Africa, bordering the Red Sea, between Djibouti and Sudan
Geographic coordinates
15 00 N, 39 00 E
Map references
Africa
Area
total: 117,600 sq km
land: 101,000 sq km
water: 16,600 sq km
Area - comparative
slightly smaller than Pennsylvania
Land boundaries
total: 1,840 km
border countries (3): Djibouti 125 km, Ethiopia 1033 km, Sudan 682 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
mean elevation: 853 m
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
agricultural land: 75.1% (2011 est.)
arable land: 6.8% (2011 est.) / permanent crops: 0% (2011 est.) / permanent pasture: 68.3% (2011 est.)
forest: 15.1% (2011 est.)
other: 9.8% (2011 est.)
Irrigated land
210 sq km (2012)
Population distribution
density is highest in the center of the country in and around the cities of Asmara (capital) and Keren; smaller settlements exist in the north and south as shown in this population distribution map
Natural hazards

frequent droughts, rare earthquakes and volcanoes; locust swarms

volcanism: Dubbi (1,625 m), which last erupted in 1861, was the country's only historically active volcano until Nabro (2,218 m) came to life on 12 June 2011

Environment - current issues
deforestation; desertification; soil erosion; overgrazing
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

Source: CIA World Factbook
This page was last updated on Friday, November 27, 2020

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