2 Jul 2013

Kiribati's Betio struggles to cope with growing population

8:52 pm on 2 July 2013

The mayor of Betio, one of the most crowded parts of Kiribati, says his council's resources can no longer meet the need of its growing population.

Romano Reo says people are arriving everyday from the outer islands and there's nothing his staff can do to stop them.

The mayor says the council has set up a medical awareness centre to educate the public about health issues.

It is also proposing that everyone living on Betio pay a two dollar annual fee to the council to support its work.

And he says there is also a proposal to charge any new arrivals 20 dollars, which would be refundable if those visitors returned to their home islands.

Mr Reo says unemployment in Betio is a growing problem and the council is working closely with government, NGOs and foreign agencies to address the issue.

One option is to send the unemployed back to their home islands or to develop the outer islands so people won't travel to the urban areas for work.