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TARAWA, Kiribati (April 13, 1999 - PACNEWS/Radio Kiribati)---An increasing Kiribati population has forced the Government to establish a new land use policy to prevent overcrowding.

Urban Management Planning Officer Mootee Koorina said one area south of the capital, Tarawa, is so overcrowded it is not capable -- in Kiribati terms -- of accommodating more people.

Mootee said 30,000 people live in the South Tarawa area, which encompasses only 16 square kilometers (6.4 square miles).

The country’s 1995 Census Report found a high concentration of people living in each South Tarawa household. It said nearly a thousand homes there had more than ten occupants.

Mootee said the situation cannot be sustained in the long term because of a likely rise in environmental and social problems related to overcrowding.

He said to alleviate the situation, the Urban Management Planning Office has issued new land use policy guidelines.

The guidelines include requiring South Tarawa residents to have building permits before they build new homes.

The Secretary for Health, Dr. Takeieta Kienene, said a rapid rise in population is being experienced nationwide.

Dr. Takeieta said the Government, through the Health Ministry, is attempting to deal with the population increase by providing family planning support.

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