Afar National Regional State is one of the nine regional states that constitute the federal democratic republic of Ethiopia. The region, with an area of about 150,000km2 stretches in a triangle of lowlands covering the Awash valley and the Dankil depression, is one of the four major pastoral regions in Ethiopia namely; Oromiya, Somalia, and SPNNR. Afar national regional state is located in the northeast part of the country. It is geographically located between 39o34’ and 42o28’East Longitude and 8o49’and 14o30’North Latitude. The region shares borders with four national states: Tigray in the northwest, Amhara in the southwest, Oromiya in the south, and Somalia in the southeast and international boundaries with Djibouti in the east and Eritrea in the northeast. Administratively the region is divided in to five zones with 32 woredas.
The landscape of the region is changed over time as a result of various dynamic processes of tectonic movement, weather, erosion, gravity, continuing episodes of rifting and volcanism.
The region is one of the areas of low land the country, with an irregular drainage system and depression, which is 116m below sea level as well as some of the exposed rocks. 35.47 percent of the region has an elevation of less than 400m above sea level whereas 51.44 percent has an elevation 400m to 900m 13.09 percent has elevation above 900m above sea level.
Population: According to the Central Statistical Authority (CSA, 2007) the total population of the region is estimated to be 1,411,092 and 80% are classified as pastoralists and the remaining 20% agro-pastoralists. The spatial distribution varies from zone to zone i.e. 29.89% in zone-1, 24.90% in zone-2, 14.07% in zone-3, 18.10% in zone-4, and 13.01% in zone-5. The population density shows 14.88 (15) persons/ sq.km which varies from zone to zone depending on the suitability of the area for settlement. Relatively, zone-5 has high population density 64 persons/sq.km whereas zone-2 has the lowest population density 9 persons/ sq.km.