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Falkland Islands - Health and safety
No inoculations are required when planning a visit to the islands. However, those passengers travelling on the RAF flights are recommended by the Ministry of Defence to be inoculated against yellow fever in case the flight has to be diverted to a yellow-fever-risk area. As the yellow-fever vaccine is a live vaccine it may not be suitable for everyone. Please seek advice from a travel-health professional working in a registered yellow-fever centre. Visitors travelling to the islands via South America should consult their doctor as to which inoculations they may require. It also makes good sense to be up to date with a tetanus jab (ten yearly). The hospital in Stanley has qualified doctors, dentists and other medical staff to cope with any contingencies. The islands’ water supply is safe to drink.
Travel clinics and health information
A full list of current travel clinic websites worldwide is available on ISTM. For other journey preparation information, consult NaTHNac (UK) or CDC (US). Information about various medications may be found on NetDoctor. All advice found online should be used in conjunction with expert advice received prior to or during travel.
The Falkland Islands must be one of the safest places for the single traveller to visit. Crime is relatively unknown; muggings and pickpockets belong to another world. The friendly islanders will often go out of their way to assist visitors, and if an emergency does arise phoning 999 will alert the emergency services. The one question often asked about the islands concerns minefields and any other military activity. Apart from a few vehicles in Stanley, occasional planes and helicopters, the military presence is more-or-less confined to the area around Mount Pleasant. Life on the islands carries on pretty much as it always has done.
The image of the Falkland Islands and minefields is unfortunately engraved on public consciousness outside the islands. The total mined area is minuscule, only affecting patches around Stanley and smaller fields at Goose Green, Fitzroy, Fox Bay and Port Howard. Recent minefield clearances have greatly reduced the number and size of the minefields around the islands. All minefields are clearly marked and fenced off. Islanders quite rightly point out that no civilian has yet been injured by mines or any unexploded device since the minefields were laid by Argentinian troops in 1982.
Driving on the islands is a unique experience whether it is over the camp or along the modern road network. There have been accidents along the road between Mount Pleasant Airport and Stanley, mostly due to excessive speed on a loose surface. Driving along this road, with its deep roadside ditches, in windy conditions demands a great deal of concentration. The well-concealed boggy areas have trapped many a vehicle passing over the camp, and local knowledge can save a lot of hard digging. If driving away from the made-up roads, a 4x4 is essential as the ground can be very soft in places, even in the summer months.