Monday, June 13, 2011

Nabro Volcano, and Eritraa

Elevation 2,218 m (7,277 ft)
Type Stratovolcano

The Nabro Volcano is a stratovolcano located in the Northern Red Sea Region of Eritrea. It is located in the Danakil Depression.

Part of the Afar Triangle, the Nabro Volcano is one of many volcanic caldera complexes in the northeasternmost part of the East African Rift valley region. The twin calderas likely formed about during an eruption of about 20 to 100 cubic kilometres consisting of ignimbrite, although the date of their formation is unknown. The subaerial volume of volcanic material within the Nabro Volcanic Range mantle plume is likely on the order of 550 km3.

2011 eruption
Despite having undergone no eruptions in recent history, the Nabro Volcano likely erupted shortly after midnight on June 13, 2011 local time, after a series of earthquakes in the Eritrea-Ethiopia border region, ranging up to magnitude 5.7. The ash plume was observed on satellite drifting to the west-northwest along the border, and spanned about 50 km wide and several hundred kilometres across in the hours immediately following the reported eruption. The ash plume reportedly reached 8 miles (15km) high.

Eritrea, officially the State of Eritrea, is a country in the Horn of Africa. The capital is Asmara. It is bordered by Sudan in the west, Ethiopia in the south, and Djibouti in the southeast. The northeast and east of the country have an extensive coastline on the Red Sea, directly across from Saudi Arabia and Yemen. The Dahlak Archipelago and several of the Hanish Islands are part of Eritrea. Eritrea's size is approximately 117,600 km2 (45,406 sq mi) with an estimated population of 5 million.

Together with northern Somalia, Djibouti, and the Red Sea coast of Sudan, Eritrea is considered the most likely location of the land known to the ancient Egyptians as Punt (or "Ta Netjeru," meaning god's land), whose first mention dates to the 25th century BC. The ancient Puntites were a nation of people that had close relations with Pharaonic Egypt during the times of Pharaoh Sahure and Queen Hatshepsut.

D'mt was a kingdom located in Eritrea and northern Ethiopia that existed during the 8th and 7th centuries BC. With its capital at Yeha, the kingdom developed irrigation schemes, used plows, grew millet, and made iron tools and weapons. After the fall of Dʿmt in the 5th century BC, the plateau came to be dominated by smaller successor kingdoms, until the rise of one of these polities, the Aksumite Kingdom during the first century, which was able to reunite the area.[8]

The history of Eritrea is tied to its strategic position on the Red Sea littoral, with a coastline that extends more than 1,000 km. Many scientists believe that it is from this area that anatomically modern humans first expanded out of Africa.[9] From across the seas came various invaders and colonizers, such as the South Arabians hailing from the present-day Yemen area, as well as the Ottoman Turks, the Portuguese from Goa (India), the Egyptians, the British and, in the 19th century, the Italians. Over the centuries, invaders also came from the neighboring countries in East Africa, like Sudan to the west. However, present-day Eritrea was largely affected by the Italian invaders of the 19th century.

In the period following the opening of the Suez canal in 1869, when European powers scrambled for territory in Africa and tried to establish coaling stations for their ships, Italy invaded Ethiopia and occupied Eritrea. On January 1, 1890, Eritrea officially became a colony of Italy. In 1936, it became a province of Italian East Africa (Africa Orientale Italiana), along with Ethiopia and Italian Somaliland. By 1941 Eritrea had about 760,000 inhabitants, including 70,000 Italians.

The Ethiopian armed forces along with British reinforcements expelled those of Italy in 1941 and took over the administration of the country which had been set up by the Italians. The British continued to administer the territory under a UN Mandate until 1951 when Eritrea was federated with Ethiopia as per UN resolution 390(A) under the prompting of the United States adopted in December 1950.

The strategic importance of Eritrea, due to its Red Sea coastline and mineral resources, along with their shared history, was the main cause for the federation with Ethiopia, which in turn led to Eritrea's annexation as Ethiopia's 14th province in 1952. This was the culmination of a gradual process of takeover by the Ethiopian authorities, a process which included a 1959 edict establishing the compulsory teaching of Amharic, the main language of Ethiopia, in all Eritrean schools. The lack of regard for the Eritrean population led to the formation of an independence movement in the early 1960s (1961), which erupted into a 30-year war against successive Ethiopian governments that ended in 1991. Following a UN-supervised referendum in Eritrea (dubbed UNOVER) in which the Eritrean people overwhelmingly voted for independence, Eritrea declared its independence and gained international recognition in 1993.

The de facto predominant languages are Tigrinya and Arabic, both of which belong to the Semitic branch of the Afro-Asiatic family. English is used in the government's international communication and is the language of instruction in all formal education beyond the fifth grade.

Eritrea is a single-party state. Though its constitution, adopted in 1997, stipulates that the state is a presidential republic with a unicameral parliamentary democracy, it has yet to be implemented. In 1998 a border dispute with Ethiopia led to the Eritrean-Ethiopian War. The war resulted in the death of as many as 100,000 Ethiopian and Eritrean soldiers, although specific casualty estimates are varied.

Politics and government
Eritrea is run by the People's Front for Democracy and Justice (PFDJ).[15] Other political groups are not allowed to organize, although the unimplemented Constitution of 1997 provides for the existence of multi-party politics. The National Assembly has 150 seats, of which 75 are occupied by the PFDJ. National elections have been periodically scheduled and cancelled; none have ever been held in the country.

Independent local sources of political information on Eritrean domestic politics are scarce; in September 2001 the government closed down all of the nation's privately owned print media, and outspoken critics of the government have been arrested and held without trial, according to various international observers, including Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International. In 2004 the U.S. State Department declared Eritrea a Country of Particular Concern (CPC) for its record of religious persecution

Relations with the West
Eritrea's relationship with the United States has a short yet complex history. Although the two nations have a close working relationship regarding the on-going war on terror, there has been a growing tension in other areas. Relations worsened in October 2008 when U.S. Assistant Secretary of State, Jendayi Frazer, called the nation a 'state sponsor of terrorism' and stated that the U.S. government might add Eritrea to its list of rogue states, along with Iran and Sudan. The stated reason for this was the presence of Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys, an exiled Somali Islamist leader, whom the U.S. suspects of having links to Al Qaeda, at a Somali opposition conference in Asmara.[

Eritrea's relationship with Italy and the EU is still reasonably strong and does not seem to be as strained as is its relationship with the U.S. On 27 January 2009, the Netherlands Ambassador Yoka Brandt, Director General of International Development Cooperation, paid an official visit to the country for bilateral talks with President Isaias' government, which were held in Massawa.

During the week of August 2, 2009, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton claimed that Eritrea is supplying weapons to the Somali militant group al-Shabab. Although Eritrea denied this accusation in a public statement the following day, the United Nations, with the backing of the African Union, imposed sanctions and an arms embargo on Eritrea under Resolution 1907 for its alleged role in Somalia and refusal to withdraw troops from the border with Djibouti.

Like the economies of many other African nations, the economy is largely based on subsistence agriculture, with 80% of the population involved in farming and herding. Drought has often created trouble in the farming areas.

The Real GDP (2009 est.): $1.87 billion, and the annual growth rate (2009 est.): 3.6%.

The Eritrean-Ethiopian War severely hurt Eritrea's economy. GDP growth in 1999 fell to less than 1%, and GDP decreased by 8.2% in 2000. In May 2000, the war resulted in some $600 million in property damage and loss, including losses of $225 million in livestock and 55,000 homes. The war also prevented the planting of crops in Eritrea's most productive region, causing food production to drop by 62%.[44][45]

Even during the war, Eritrea developed its transportation infrastructure by asphalting new roads, improving its ports, and repairing war-damaged roads and bridges as a part of the Warsay Yika'alo Program. The most significant of these projects was the building of a coastal highway of more than 500 km connecting Massawa with Asseb as well as the rehabilitation of the Eritrean Railway. The rail line now runs between the Port of Massawa and the capital Asmara.

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