Terrain shapes and bedrock
According to COUNTRYAAH, the nature of Eritrea is largely characterized by large faults parallel to the Red Sea. On the coast towards the Red Sea, a coastal plain is spreading, which extends southward and passes into the Danakil Plateau. This desolate area extends into Ethiopia and encloses a sink, the Kobar sink, which reaches more than 90 m above the coast, like the islands of the Dahlakaripelagi, coral reefs. The coastal plain is confined to the west by a fault slope. Just above the slope lies Eritrea’s highest mountain, Amba Soira (3,010 m above sea level).
The plateau west of the slope is built up of granites and gneisses, which are superimposed by sandstone, limestone and top basalt. On the plateau, rest mountains have been formed with flat tops, ambas, between deeply eroded valleys and ravines. To the west, the plateau gradually slopes down towards the border with Sudan in a soft rolling landscape.
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The coastal plain of the Red Sea has an extremely hot and dry climate. In Mitsiwa, the average temperature in January is 26 °C and in July 35 °C. The annual rainfall is on average around 180 mm and varies greatly from year to year.
On the plateau-like highlands in the northwest, the climate is both cooler and rainier. Keren, northwest of Asmera, has an average temperature of 18 °C in January and May (warmest month) of 25 °C. The annual rainfall here is about 650 mm on average.
Plant-and animal life
The coastal area is desert-like with low grass and tamarisk. In the few high-lying areas in the north and northwest that are not exploited, Koso, brown olive (O’lea africa’na), styrene Juni’perus proce’ra, the strävbladiga Co’rdia abyssi’nica and shrub and candelabra shaped Euphorbias. Higher up are torch lilies and tree-like heather.
Wildlife is mostly adapted to dry environments. There are over a hundred species of mammals, including mantle baby, caracal, striped and spotted hyena (both rare) and gold shawls. Of ungulates there are African wild ox (rare), oyx and Sömmerings gazelle (Gazeʹlla soemmerriʹngi). Over 300 species of birds are nesting, and an additional 200 are seen.
Eritrea had two national parks in 2010: the Dahlakar Archipelago, the Marine National Park in the Red Sea, and Semenawi Bahri, a mountainous area in central Eritrea.
In May 1991, on the one hand the conquest of Asmara by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Eritrea (FPLE) and on the other the fall of the Manghistu regime in Ethiopia marked the end of the long and bloody conflict that had opposed the government to the FPLE, the Marxist-inspired movement that has become the protagonist of the liberation struggle since the 1970s. The war left an exhausted country with an agricultural sector almost destroyed, an urban economy practically non-existent, more than 700,000refugees (about a fifth of the population, whose reintegration was particularly difficult given the situation), and the rest of the population on the verge of subsistence, largely dependent on humanitarian aid. To this was added the urgency of reintegrating a substantial part of the armed forces into civilian life; they were often young people who had no other experience than that of war. The international conference, held in London in August 1991, which saw the participation, under the presidency of the United States, of the FPLE and the Revolutionary Democratic Front of the Ethiopian people, which came to power in May 1991, recognized the legitimacy of the provisional government, led by I. Afewerki and formed immediately after the seizure of power, and defined the modalities of the referendum on independence to be held in 1993. The first measures launched by the government, which concerned support for state industry, agriculture and fishing, were aimed at addressing the dramatic economic situation, but initially found an obstacle, especially as regards the possible intervention of foreign investors, in the Marxist orientation of the FPLE and the still undefined international status of the country. This last difficulty was overcome thanks to the popular referendum of April 1993,99, 8 % sanctioned the definitive independence of the country, and thanks to the admission to the UN in May 1993. With regard to the other aspect, however, also due to the concern about the possible birth of ethnic and religious-based movements, the introduction of a Constitution and a political system based on multi-partyism was postponed to the end of a transition period of four years. The executive power was entrusted to a State Council, led by Afewerki, and the legislative one to a National Assembly, composed of the members of the Central Committee of the FPLE and 60 representatives elected by the provincial assemblies or selected by the Central Committee itself, including at least 10women. One of the first acts of the National Assembly, which also had the task of appointing a commission for the elaboration of a draft Constitution to be submitted to a popular referendum, was the election of Afewerki to the presidency of the Republic. In February 1994the FPLE decided to transform itself from an armed movement into a political party, taking the name of the Popular Front for Democracy and Justice. This change coincided with the adoption of a more moderate and pragmatic political line and the de facto attenuation of the reference to Marxist ideology but, despite the reaffirmed need to establish a pluralistic regime, it did not involve openings regarding the freedom of association and organization. and therefore did not initiate a substantial process of democratization. Incentives for foreign investment were launched to cope with a disastrous economic situation, also aggravated by the drought that hit the region in 1993 – 94, while a rationalization of the public sector and an administrative reform were proceeding that reduced the regions from 10 to 6.