Comoros Country Report
The Comoros Islands (population 795,000) is currently emerging from a period of political instability, with a focus on promoting harmony and growth in order to combat widespread poverty affecting much of the country.
Comoros suffered its most recent political crisis in 2007, fueling aspirations for independence among certain groups. Since 2009 and the creation of a single-term presidency (the archipelago is composed of three islands that control the presidency on a rotating basis), the situation has calmed considerably. Legislative elections were held in 2015 and presidential elections in 2016 without major incident, although some tensions were reported, especially during the second round. Former president and coup leader Azali Assoumani was sworn in as president in May 2016.
As the president serves a five-year term, the next presidential elections in Comoros are scheduled be held in 2021. Legislative elections have a history of being delayed, however they are expected to be held in 2020.
Strikes and protests are regularly organized and clashes between security forces and protesters sometimes occur. As a result of its colonial history, there is a strong anti-French sentiment in Comoros. The contested island of Mayotte, a current overseas department of France, is the focus of an ongoing political debate and demonstrations over its status are frequent. Notably, in May 2016, a protest was held to denounce the alleged mistreatment of Comorians in Mayotte.
Additionally, in February 2017, violence erupted at a student protest in Moroni. Security forces reportedly fired rubber bullets and used their clubs against the students - resulting in several injuries. All those present on the islands are advised to keep a safe distance from any demonstration.
While crime rates are relatively low, it is nevertheless advisable to remain vigilant and take measures against petty theft, pick-pocketing, and mugging. In August 2016, violent crimes rates were reported to be increasing in Comoros, particularly on the island of Anjouan.
Furthermore, travelers should be respectful of Muslim customs and sensibilities while in the country. A "vice squad" patrols the streets nightly around bars and nightclubs; travelers are advised to keep their identity cards on them when frequenting such establishments. Furthermore, all individuals present in the country are encouraged to wear modest clothing at all times and women should avoid outings on Itsandra Beach (within sight of a mosque) on Grande Comore Island.
Foreign visitors should be aware that tourist infrastructure is limited, telecommunication systems are not very reliable, and power outages and water cuts are common.
European governments advise against flying with the domestic airline Comores Air Services due to poor safety standards. That being said, when traveling between islands, it is preferable to travel by air rather than by sea, as many boat and ferry services do not adhere to minimal safety standards.
Travelers should take out an insurance policy covering medical costs abroad as well as medical evacuation prior to their departure
There is also a marked lack of access to healthcare; services offered on Grande Comore and Anjouan are generally restricted to basic necessities and are sub-par on the island of Mohéli. In addition to the lack of medical supplies and medicine, surgical infrastructure is also deficient.
Diarrheal diseases are common, and cholera is prevalent in Comoros. Malaria is present along the entire archipelago, and can be transmitted all year round. Cases of dengue fever and typhoid fever have also been reported.
Travelers to the country should be aware that tropical cyclones can strike between November and May. The islands are located in an active seismic and volcanic zone; Mount Karthala is an active volcano on Grande Comore that erupted most recently in 2007.
The Comoros Islands enjoy a tropical maritime climate characterized by fairly constant daytime temperatures, around 26°C at sea level, and high annual rainfall (2679 mm). The average ocean temperature is 25°C. The island nation experiences two seasons, the hot and humid season (from November to April) and the dry season (May to October).
Useful NumbersCountry Code: +269 Local Police: 7734 663
Voltage: 220 V ~ 50 Hz
Comoros: Opposition meetings banned in Anjouan
TIMEFRAME: from 12/12/2017, 12:00 AM until 12/15/2017, 11:59 PM (Indian/Comoro).
Comoros: Eid al-Adha expected to begin September 1
TIMEFRAME: from 9/1/2017, 12:00 AM until 9/5/2017, 11:59 PM (Indian/Comoro).