30 Oct 2009

Easter Islanders wait for Chile parliament to restrict immigration

12:07 pm on 30 October 2009

The indigenous Polynesian people of Easter Island are waiting for Chile's government to respond to a vote by the island's residents for tighter control on immigration due to fears of overpopulation.

More than 90 percent of those who voted in a referendum say they're worried about the influx of residents from Chile, who've come to work in the local tourism industry.

An estimated 50 to 70-thousand people visit the Island each year.

An Easter Islander, Yan Araki, says of the about 5,000 residents on Rapa Nui, fewer than 2,000 are indigenous, and on a small island, it creates a strain on resources which disadvantages the people of the land.

"For example, if I need to go to the hospital, and we have 3 or 4 doctors here on the island, for a population of 5000 people, I have to get on a waiting list, and me being local have to wait to get attended. Why, because there are people in front of me who are not local."

Yan Araki.