Eritrea has three distinct regions.
The temperate central portion, where Asmara lies,
is situated on a rocky highland plateau, which separates the two desert regions.
These mountains fall away to reveal the eastern lowlands, characterised by the searing heat and humidity of the Eritrean salt pans, lapped by the Red Sea.
To the west of the plateau stretches a vast arid desert area, extending over an opaque border into Sudan and the empty Sahara beyond. It is this desert that Eritrean refugees have to cross to reach the relative safety of the Sudanese refugee camps. Thousands make this journey every year.
This prison camp holds around 30 members of the former Ethiopian Derg regime, who have been imprisoned here since 1991. They have lost track of time, have had no contact with their families, and the first thing that they asked a new arrival was whether he had a razor blade so they could kill themselves.