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Somalia Geography 1996

    • Location:
      Eastern Africa, bordering the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean, east of Ethiopia

    • Map references:

    • Area:

        total area:
        637,660 sq km

        land area:
        627,340 sq km

        comparative area:
        slightly smaller than Texas

    • Land boundaries:
      total 2,366 km, Djibouti 58 km, Ethiopia 1,626 km, Kenya 682 km

    • Coastline:
      3,025 km

    • Maritime claims:

        territorial sea:
        200 nm

    • International disputes:
      southern half of boundary with Ethiopia is a Provisional Administrative Line; territorial dispute with Ethiopia over the Ogaden

    • Climate:
      principally desert; December to February - northeast monsoon, moderate temperatures in north and very hot in south; May to October - southwest monsoon, torrid in the north and hot in the south, irregular rainfall, hot and humid periods (tangambili) between monsoons

    • Terrain:
      mostly flat to undulating plateau rising to hills in north

    • Natural resources:
      uranium and largely unexploited reserves of iron ore, tin, gypsum, bauxite, copper, salt

    • Land use:

        arable land:

        permanent crops:

        meadows and pastures:

        forest and woodland:


    • Irrigated land:
      1,600 sq km (1989 est.)

    • Environment:

        current issues:
        famine; use of contaminated water contributes to human health problems; deforestation; overgrazing; soil erosion; desertification

        natural hazards:
        recurring droughts; frequent dust storms over eastern plains in summer

        international agreements:
        party to - Endangered Species, Law of the Sea; signed, but not ratified - Marine Dumping, Nuclear Test Ban

    • Note:
      strategic location on Horn of Africa along southern approaches to Bab el Mandeb and route through Red Sea and Suez Canal

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