• Crisis Severity ?
    0 Very low
    Very high 5
  • Impact ?
    0 Very low
    Very high 5
  • Humanitarian Conditions ?
    0 Very low
    Very high 5
  • Complexity ?
    0 Very low
    Very high 5
  • Access Constraints ?
    No constraints
    Extreme constraints

Key figures

  • 5,000,000 People affected [?]
  • 4,000,000 People in Need [?]



The Eritrean government significantly restricts humanitarian access and there is very little information on humanitarian needs. The country is governed by a one-party state; elections have not been held since 1993. Human rights violations including arbitrary detention, indefinite national/military service, and extrajudicial killings have been reported.?Following the signing of the “Joint Declaration of Peace and Friendship” by the governments of Ethiopia and Eritrea in July 2018, border crossings between the two countries were re-opened in September 2018 for the first time in 20 years. However, the last open border crossing was closed in April 2019, with no official reason given.?

Eritrea is subject to harsh climatic conditions, including cyclical drought and flooding during rainy seasons. These events heighten the vulnerability of communities, making it difficult for families to fully recover from the effects of one emergency before another strikes. In recent years, the country’s climatic conditions have tested the coping capacities of the population, which is largely dependent (80%) on subsistence agriculture.?Domestic food production is estimated to meet only between 60-70% of the population’s needs.?

INFORM measures Eritrea's risk of humanitarian crisis and disaster to be high, at 5.2/10.?

Latest Developments


03/07/: Since mid-June around 1,300 Somali refugees, who were previously registered in Umkulu refugee camp in Eritrea, have sought asylum in northern Ethiopia. Local authorities reportedly asked the refugees, some of whom have lived in the camp for 20 years, to leave. UNHCR is appealing to Eritrean authorities not to close the camp without offering alternatives. Some 2,100 Somali refugees lived in Umkulu camp, Eritrea’s only refugee camp. The new Somali refugee arrivals in northern Ethiopia are currently residing in schools and other makeshift shelters where UNHCR is providing basic services.?

17/06: All health facilities run by the Catholic Church in Eritrea have been closed by the government. Staff have been removed, patients ordered to go home, and soldiers deployed to the centres. The Catholic Church ran 22 health centres in the country, and their closure is likely to leave thousands of people, mostly mothers and their children in rural areas, without healthcare. The government also provides health services, but they are less accessible and of a lower standard. It is likely that the government closed the health centres to retaliate against the Church for issuing a statement in April calling for reforms to stem emigration as well as a call from bishops for national reconciliation.?

Humanitarian Access



Despite recent improvements in Eritrea’s diplomatic relations with Ethiopia and Somalia, and the lifting of a nine-year arms embargo by the United Nations Security Council, humanitarian access in Eritrea remains extremely restricted. Only a few humanitarian actors are permitted to operate in the country. Those who do gain access need permission to travel outside of the capital Asmara. Nongovernmental organisations and independent media are prohibited, and journalists have been imprisoned. Authorities frequently deny access to human rights observers and researchers. Mine contamination remains a concern across all regions. Information on the humanitarian situation continues to be sporadic due to the high access constraints, and there are significant data gaps.?

Download the full Humanitarian Access Overview

Key Priorities


Protection: Torture, arbitrary detention, and indefinite national service are reported.?

Food security: Eritrea is a drought prone country. Some farmers are prevented from harvesting or attending to crops due to mandatory national service, which in turn negatively impacts food security.?