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Country Reports

Martinique Country Report

Overview

INTRODUCTION

Martinique (population 387,000) continues to offer good travel conditions although visitors should be conscious of a few potential issues before traveling to the French Overseas Department (DOM).

NATURAL RISKS

The island is exposed to tropical storms and hurricanes between early June and late November; Hurricane Dean, which struck the island in summer 2007, caused significant levels of destruction (5000 homes destroyed).

Martinique is also located in an active seismic zone; earthquakes with magnitudes of 6.6 and 7.3 on the Richter scale struck the island in February 2014 and November 2007, respectively.

SOCIAL UNREST and CRIME

Social and economic conditions are precarious due to relatively high levels of unemployment compounded by a high cost of living. Food prices – particularly in supermarkets – are on average 75 percent higher than in mainland France. Strikes and protests are common in this French DOM and can affect various sectors.

Crime rates, including violent crime, are also relatively high.

POLITICS

Residents of Martinique vote in the French national elections.

HEALTH

Visitors will be reassured to note that high quality medical care is available in well-equipped hospitals throughout the island. Mosquito-borne diseases - including dengue fever and chikungunya - are present.

Additionally, thousands of cases of the Zika virus, another mosquito-borne disease, have been reported on the island since December 2015. While the virus is usually relatively benign, links between the Zika virus and the birth defect microcephaly (babies born with abnormally small heads) as well as the potentially fatal neurological disorder Guillain-Barre syndrome (GBS) have been established.

Finally, Martinique is one of the French departments with the highest rates of HIV-AIDS.

OTHER

As a French department, Martinique forms part of the European Union. The official language is French and the local currency is the euro.

Climate

The rainy season lasts from June until November, with temperatures highest in July (28°C). The dry season extends from January until May (average temperature 26°C). Hurricanes can strike in September and October.

Useful Numbers

Country Code: +596 Police: 17 Fire Dept.: 18 Ambulance: 15

Electricity

Voltage: 220 V ~ 50 Hz

Outlets:

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