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COMOROS - Exercise a high degree of caution
There is no nationwide advisory in effect for the Union of the Comoros. However, you should exercise a high degree of caution in the country due to political instability.
The decision to travel is your responsibility. You are also responsible for your personal safety abroad. The purpose of this Travel Advice is to provide up-to-date information to enable you to make well-informed decisions.
The security situation has improved following the political crisis of 2008. You should monitor news reports and follow the advice of local authorities.
Since April 2012, torrential rains have caused landslides and flash flooding in the eastern and northern regions of Comoros archipelago. Significant infrastructure damage has occurred, leaving some regions inaccessible by road. Other services have been affected, including emergency and medical care, as well as water and food supplies. The Government of the Union of Comoros has declared a state of emergency for the country. If you reside in or intend to travel to the affected areas, exercise caution, monitor local news and weather reports, and follow the advice of local authorities.
Although infrequent, petty crime such as pick-pocketing, purse snatching and theft from unlocked cars occurs. Exercise caution in crowded outdoor markets, parks and beaches. Ensure that personal belongings, passport, and other travel documents are secure at all times. It is not recommended to walk alone at night.
Political instability, including frequent strikes and civil unrest, has plagued the islands. Police and demonstrators have clashed in the past, and further incidents are possible. Foreigners have not been targeted, but you should exercise caution and avoid all demonstrations and public gatherings. You should contact the High Commission of Canada in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania for the latest security information.
Pirate attacks occur in coastal waters and, in some cases, farther out at sea. Mariners should take appropriate precautions. For additional information, consult the Live Piracy Report published by the International Maritime Bureau.
Roads are narrow and poorly lit. Although most urban roads are paved, many rural roads are not. Exercise extreme caution when driving at night. Emergency and roadside assistance is non-existent. In the event of an accident, travellers should proceed to the nearest police station. Taxis and car rentals are available.
It is possible to travel between the islands by boat. You should avoid boats that are in poor condition or overcrowded, as there have been incidents of boats capsizing in the past.
See Transportation Safety in order to verify if national airlines meet safety standards.
General safety information
Tourist facilities are limited. Telecommunications are unreliable. Water shortages and power cuts occur.
For emergency assistance, dial (269) 77 34 663.
It is the sole prerogative of each country or region to determine who is allowed to enter. Canadian consular officials cannot intervene on your behalf if you do not meet entry requirements. The following information on entry and exit requirements has been obtained from the Comorian authorities. However, these requirements are subject to change at any time. It is your responsibility to check with the Mission of the Union of Comoros, based in New York for up-to-date information.
Official (special and diplomatic) passport holders must consult the Official Travel page, as they may be subject to different entry requirements.
Canadians must present a passport to visit Comoros, which must be valid for at least six months beyond the date of expected departure from that country. Prior to travelling, ask your transportation company about its requirements related to passport validity, which may be more stringent than the country's entry rules.
Canadians must also be in possession of a visa to visit Comoros. The visa may be extended in Moroni. An onward or return ticket is also required.
Tourist visa: Required (available on or after arrival)
Business visa: Required (available on or after arrival)
Student visa: Required (available on or after arrival)
Children and travel
Children need special documentation to visit certain countries. See Children for more information.
See Health to obtain information on this country’s vaccination requirements.
Be sure that your routine vaccines are up-to-date regardless of your travel destination.
Vaccines to Consider
You may be at risk for these vaccine-preventable diseases while travelling in this country. Talk to your travel health provider about which ones are right for you.
Hepatitis A is a disease of the liver spread through contaminated food and water or contact with an infected person. All those travelling to regions with a risk of hepatitis A infection should get vaccinated.
Hepatitis B is a disease of the liver spread through blood or other bodily fluids. Travellers who may be exposed (e.g., through sexual contact, medical treatment, sharing needles, tattooing, acupuncture or occupational exposure) should get vaccinated.
Seasonal influenza occurs worldwide. The flu season usually runs from November to April in the northern hemisphere, between April and October in the southern hemisphere and year round in the tropics. Influenza (flu) is caused by a virus spread from person to person when they cough or sneeze or by touching objects and surfaces that have been contaminated with the virus. Get the flu shot.
Measles is a highly contagious viral disease and is common in most parts of the world. Be sure your measles vaccination is up-to-date regardless of your travel destination.
Rabies is a deadly illness spread to humans through a bite, scratch or lick from an infected animal. Vaccination should be considered for travellers going to areas where rabies exists and who have a high risk of exposure (i.e., close contact with animals, occupational risk, and children).
Yellow Fever Vaccination
Yellow fever is a disease caused by a flavivirus from the bite of an infected mosquito.
Travellers get vaccinated either because it is required to enter a country or because it is recommended for their protection.
|* It is important to note that country entry requirements may not reflect your risk of yellow fever at your destination. It is recommended that you contact the nearest diplomatic or consular office of the destination(s) you will be visiting to verify any additional entry requirements.|
|Country Entry Requirement*|
Food and Water-borne Diseases
Travellers to any destination in the world can develop travellers' diarrhea from consuming contaminated water or food.
In some areas in East Africa, food and water can also carry diseases like cholera, hepatitis A, schistosomiasis and typhoid. Practise safe food and water precautions while travelling in East Africa. Remember: Boil it, cook it, peel it, or leave it!
- Travellers' diarrhea is the most common illness affecting travellers. It is spread from eating or drinking contaminated food or water.
- Risk of developing travellers' diarrhea increases when travelling in regions with poor standards of hygiene and sanitation. Practise safe food and water precautions.
- The most important treatment for travellers' diarrhea is rehydration (drinking lots of fluids). Carry oral rehydration salts when travelling.
Typhoid is a bacterial infection spread by contaminated food or water. Risk is higher among pediatric travellers, travellers going to rural areas, visiting friends and relatives or travelling for a long period of time. Travellers at high risk visiting regions with typhoid risk, especially those exposed to places with poor sanitation should speak to a health care provider about vaccination.
Insects and Illness
In some areas in East Africa, certain insects carry and spread diseases like African trypanosomiasis (sleeping sickness), chikungunya, Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever, dengue fever, leishmaniasis, lymphatic filariasis, malaria, onchocerciasis (river blindness), Rift Valley fever, West Nile virus and yellow fever.
Travellers are advised to take precautions against bites.
- Dengue fever occurs in this country. Dengue fever is a viral disease that can cause severe flu-like symptoms. In some cases it leads to dengue haemorrhagic fever, which can be fatal.
- The risk of dengue is higher during the daytime, particularly at sunrise and sunset.
- Protect yourself from mosquito bites. There is no vaccine or medication that protects against dengue fever.
- There is a risk of malaria throughout the year in the whole country.
- Malaria is a serious and occasionally fatal disease that is spread by the bite of an infected mosquito. There is no vaccine against malaria.
- Protect yourself from mosquito bites. This includes covering up, using insect repellent and staying in enclosed air-conditioned accommodations. You may also consider pre-treating clothing and travel gear with insecticides and sleeping under an insecticide-treated bednet.
- See a health care provider or visit a travel health clinic, preferably six weeks before you travel to discuss the benefits of taking antimalarial medication and to determine which one to take.
Animals and Illness
Travellers are cautioned to avoid contact with animals, including dogs, monkeys, snakes, rodents, and bats. Certain infections found in some areas in East Africa, like avian influenza and rabies, can be shared between humans and animals.
Medical services and facilities
Medical facilities are basic on Grande Comore, Anjouan and Moheli. Medical supplies and prescription medication are limited and the frequent interruption of electricity and water supplies can affect hospitals.
Keep in Mind...
The decision to travel is the sole responsibility of the traveller. The traveller is also responsible for his or her own personal safety.
Be prepared. Do not expect medical services to be the same as in Canada. Pack a travel health kit, especially if you will be travelling away from major city centres.
Laws & culture
Laws & culture
You are subject to local laws. See Arrest and detention for more information.
During the lunar month of Ramadan (the ninth month of the Muslim calendar), refrain from drinking, eating, and smoking in public between sunrise and sunset. This year, Ramadan is expected to begin on or around June 18, 2015.
It is illegal to be inebriated in public. Convicted offenders are subject to fines and possible imprisonment.
There are strict penalties for possession, use or trafficking of illegal drugs, and convicted offenders can expect jail sentences and heavy fines.
Conservative dress is recommended, particularly for women. Shorts and revealing clothing should not be worn.
An International Driving Permit is required.
The currency is the Comorian franc (KMF). Credit cards are not widely accepted. Banking facilities are minimal, with only one established bank on Grande Comore.
Natural disasters & climate
Natural disasters & climate
There are two seasons: the hot and humid season (November to April) with possible cyclones and northeastern monsoons; and the dry season (May to October).
The Comoros are located in an active seismic and volcanic zone. The Karthala Volcano, situated on Grande Comore Island, erupted on January 12, 2007. Keep informed of regional weather forecasts and plan accordingly.
There is no Canadian government office in the Comoros. You can obtain consular assistance and further consular information from the High Commission of Canada in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
Dar Es Salaam - High Commission of Canada
For emergency assistance after hours, call the High Commission of Canada in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and follow the instructions. You may also call the Emergency Watch and Response Centre in Ottawa at 613-996-8885.
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