Wadi Halfa Salient

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Wadi Halfa Salient
(after ‏وادي حلفا Wādī Ḥalfā)
disputed area
Wadi Halfa Salient is located in Sudan
Wadi Halfa Salient
Wadi Halfa Salient
Location between Egypt and Sudan
Coordinates: 22°05′31″N 31°24′20″E / 22.09194°N 31.40556°E / 22.09194; 31.40556Coordinates: 22°05′31″N 31°24′20″E / 22.09194°N 31.40556°E / 22.09194; 31.40556
Country  Sudan
State Northern
Districts Wadi Halfa
Time zone EST (UTC+2)
 • Summer (DST) +3 (UTC)

The Wadi Halfa Salient (named after Wadi Halfa, Arabic ‏وادي حلفا Wādī Ḥalfā, a nearby Sudanese city 22 kilometers south of the border) is the unofficial name of a salient of the international border between Sudan and Egypt along the Nile River to the north.

History[edit]

In 1899, the border between Anglo-Egyptian Sudan and Egypt was defined by the Condominium treaty to run along the 22nd degree north of latitude. However, access to the area north of the border along the Nile River and consequently the administration of the population of the area were easier from Sudan. Therefore, in 1902 an amendment to the original treaty defined the new administrative border, deviating north of the 22nd degree north of latitude along the Nile river, thereby placing this area under Sudanese administration.

Besides the Wadi Halfa Salient, there are two more areas where the border deviates from the 22nd degree north of latitude: the Hala'ib Triangle on the Red Sea coast, north of the original 1899 border, and the much smaller area around Bir Tawil, south of the original border.

Political situation[edit]

Egypt claims the more favorable original border of 1899 along the 22nd degree north of latitude and therefore claims both the Hala'ib Triangle and the Wadi Halfa Salient, but not the Bir Tawil area. Since Sudan claims the amended border of 1902, it claims the same areas as Egypt, while no country claims the Bir Tawil area, making it de facto a terra nullius. While there have been disputes about the Hala'ib Triangle and military occupation by Egypt, the small area of the Wadi Halfa Salient remained out of the headlines because most of the area is flooded by Lake Nasser.

Flooding in the Wadi Halfa Salient
Flooding area superimposed

Geography[edit]

The Wadi Halfa Salient is roughly nine kilometers wide and stretches on both sides of the original course of the Nile River 25 kilometers to the north finger-shaped into Egyptian territory, with a total area of 210 km². Because of the construction of the Aswan Dam and the flooding of Lake Nasser most of the area was flooded, affecting most of the villages of the area and the ancient city of Faras. Some of the people were resettled to New Halfa in the Butana region.

After a detailed map of 1953, before the flooding, 52 villages could be counted in the area, of which 24 were west of the Nile River (17 with names on the map), and 29 east of the river (12 with names), and one unnamed village on then Faras Island in the river. The largest town and only one with a population exceeding 2000 was دبيرة (Dubayrah).[1]

A land area of about 30 to 40 km² only remains in Wadi Halfa Salient, most of it on the eastern banks, a desolate rocky area nearly void of vegetation. A superimposition of the map with current NASA World Wind satellite images shows the extent of flooding in the area of the Wadi Halfa Salient. All villages shown on the map disappeared in the reservoir.

Detail of a U.S. Army map from 1953, before the flooding, showing Wadi Halfa Salient

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Notes

  1. ^ Dubayrah NF 36-5 "Series P502, Edition 2-AMS", Army Map Service, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

External links[edit]