• 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



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


No significant recent humanitarian developments. This crisis is being monitored by our analysis team. 

For more information on the desert locust outbreak in East Africa, please see the relevant paragraph below.

ACAPS' team is daily monitoring the impact of COVID-19. Find more information related to the outbreak here.

Humanitarian Access


Extreme constraints

Eritrea retains its status as one of the countries with the highest access constraints. INGOs are prohibited in the country. President Isaias Afwerki allows only a few UN agencies to operate, including UNICEF, FAO, and UNHCR, which has defined the operational environment as “challenging, but permissible for day-to-day activities”. Incoming funds from the UN and other donor agencies are subject to strict limitations and must pass through the Government of Eritrea. Information gaps are noticeable, for example on the obstacles encountered by Eritreans in accessing services or movement restrictions within the country. Historically, Eritrea has not shared information about the level of humanitarian needs.

Read more in the latest ACAPS Humanitarian Access Overview.

Key Priorities


Protection: Torture, arbitrary arrests, denial of fair public trial, violence against women and girls, human trafficking, and criminalisation of same-sex sexual conduct have been reported.?

Food security: Eritrea is vulnerable to climatic conditions, including drought and limited water supply, substantially increasing the chances of food insecurity and loss of livelihoods. This is aggravated by mandatory national service meaning farmers are unable to regularly attend to their crops.?

Education: : According to the latest report published in 2018, 340,000 children are out of school. For lower secondary school, the net enrolment rate is of 44%. The majority of these children are from nomadic or semi-nomadic communities meaning access is an issue. These communities are also extremely prone to natural disasters.?

Desert Locust Outbreak


The desert locust outbreak in the Horn of Africa has been worsening since December 2019, with 8 countries in the region currently most affected, including Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, Uganda, Eritrea, Djibouti, Tanzania, and as of 17 February, South Sudan. Most recently, on 21 February, swarms have been reported in Democratic Republic of Congo, although it is not yet clear how they may progress. The ability of desert locusts to form large swarms and consume vast quantities of crops and vegetation pose severe risks to agriculture, livelihoods, and food security across the 8 most affected countries, where more than 20.2 million people already face Crisis IPC Phase 3 or higher. Recent appeals to ramp up control efforts and support to affected countries are necessary, as new generations of swarms are expected across Kenya, Ethiopia, and Somalia in the next few weeks.?