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Country Reports

Fiji Country Report

Overview

INTRODUCTION

Travelers to the South Pacific archipelago of Fiji (32 islands; population 900,000) should note that the political climate throughout the country is relatively heated and that environmental conditions warrant attention.

POLITICS

On September 17, 2014, legislative elections were held for the first time in eight years. President Jioji Konousi Konrote began his five-year mandate in November 2015. The next parliamentary elections will be held in late 2019. Fiji has endured no fewer than four coup d'états since 1987.

NATURAL RISKS

Regarding environmental conditions, foreigners should be aware that the archipelago is regularly affected by cyclones and other storms between November and April; in January 2003, a 30 m (100 ft) wave hit Vanua Levua. Cyclone Winston - the most violent in 60 years - struck the country on February 20-21, killing some 50 people and leaving significant damages in its wake. 

Furthermore, the country is located in a very active seismic zone. Tsunami alerts are regularly issued in the country. A magnitude-6.9 earthquake occurred on January 3, 2017, leading authorities to issue a tsunami alert (no victims or damages were reported).

CRIME                    

Crime levels - characterized by often violent incidents that may particularly target foreigners - have been on the rise over the past few years (cases of sexual assault have been reported, mainly in the tourist areas of western Fiji). Furthermore, French diplomatic authorities have noted that cases of theft and burglary targeting private homes and hotels are on the rise.

Travelers are advised to dress modestly and simply, and to not carry valuable objects on their person. Walking after nightfall is risky unless accompanied by a local guide.

TRANSPORTATION

Public transportation is relatively safe. However, on September 13, 2011, Fijian authorities grounded all flights operated by Air Kiribati between Kiribati and the Fiji islands for security reasons.

Authorities have warned individuals traveling in Fiji to be wary of sea travel. There have been a number of accidents caused by the use of boats in a state of disrepair, such that travel on the open sea is inadvisable. 

HEALTH                                                                                                                 

Medical facilities generally offer a decent level of service, but in the event of a major health emergency, a medical evacuation to New Zealand or Australia should nonetheless be considered. It should be noted that leptospirosis is present in the country; seven fatal cases were recently reported in the west of Viti Levu Island. Outbreaks of typhoid and dengue fever have also been reported, particularly in the north of the island chain.

In early 2016, Fiji was faced with a heightened risk of the Zika virus, which is transmitted via bites from Aedes mosquitoes.

OTHER

The Euro is accepted as a form of payment in Fiji, as are major credit cards in areas frequented by tourists as well as in the capital. That said, many small venders prefer cash payment.

Climate

Fiji has a tropical climate with average temperatures fluctuating between 20°C and 32°C throughout the archipelago. Temperatures remain relatively steady from season to season, although summers (November to March) are slightly hotter and more humid than the rest of the year. The dry season lasts from May until October and the rainy season from December to April. Cyclones can strike between November and April.

Useful Numbers

Country Code: +679 Police: 917 Fire Dept., Ambulance: 911

Electricity

Voltage: 240 V ~ 50 Hz

Outlets:

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