|Geography and Climate
Eritrea is located in Eastern Africa, bordering the Red Sea, between Djibouti and Sudan. Area - comparative: slightly larger than Pennsylvania. Total land boundary is 1,630 km, border countries are Djibouti 113 km, Ethiopia 912 km, Sudan 605 km.
Climate is 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 is 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 extreme has the lowest point in Kobar Sink -75 m and highest point in Soira 3,013 m. Natural resources are gold, potash, zinc, copper, salt, probably oil and natural gas (petroleum geologists are prospecting for it), 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 are frequent droughts.
Environment—current issues: deforestation; desertification; soil erosion; overgrazing; loss of infrastructure from civil warfare.
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.
Ref. Anonymous, 1999