CONCERNS were raised by the People's Community Network (PCN) over what it says is an increase in the number of people living in squatter settlements.
Speaking to this newspaper, PCN national director Semiti Qalowasa said the number of people living in squatter settlements had increased to an estimated 30 per cent of the more than the 800,000 national population.
Mr Qalowasa said according to the last survey in 2003, 15 per cent of the population lived in squatter settlements, however, because of vast changes the numbers have increased.
"The 30 per cent includes about 300,000 people living in squatter settlements around the country," he said.
Mr Qalowasa said the concentration of people living in squatter settlement was high between the Suva/Nausori corridor with more than 83 settlements.
"In the Western Division, Lautoka has 41 squatter settlements, Nadi 13, Sigatoka 11, Rakiraki two, Tavua 12 and Ba 16," he said.
Mr Qalowasa said in the Northern Division, Labasa had 22 squatter settlements. He said one of the reasons people ended up in squatter settlements were less housing development.
The increase in the cost of living is also a reason for an increase in squatters.