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60,000 citizens can’t afford conventional housing

By Nasik Swami SUVA, Fiji (FijiSUN, March. 23, 2011) – In Fiji, about seven per cent of the country’s population live in squatter settlements and this accumulates to a total of around 60,000 citizens, says director for housing and squatter settlement, Kolinio Bola.

Mr. Bola also pointed out that there are more than 200 squatter settlements in the country.

He said the heavy concentration of squatter settlements in the country is between the Nausori and Suva corridor.

Mr. Bola said squatter settlements are a big problem and together with the assistance from the municipal councils around the country some squatter issues have been outlined to be reduced.

"We are working in partnership with the Government and non- governmental organizations in improving the well-being of people living in squatter communities," he said.

Mr. Bola said 15 squatter upgrade projects would be done within the next three years. He said the first phase of discussion on paving ways to improve the well-being of squatter settlements has started.

"These include all the municipalities and the next stage will be the first Local Government forum that will be held in Labasa and Savusavu. The forum will be an avenue to streamline implementation strategies to improve the wellbeing of people living in squatter settlements."

Mr. Bola said apart from the joint actions from all the municipalities, Government also has its own squatter upgrading programs.

He said FJ$1.5million [US$817,000] have been given by Government for this year’s squatter upgrading.

"About 29 leases have been issued so far and the next part of the project will be the Lakena Hill number two and the Bandrau squatter settlement in Ba. We also plan to move towards the West and the Northern divisions to improve the lives of people living in squatter settlements."

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