The COVID-19 pandemic has created a dangerous new normal for everyone through Lockdown orders and social distancing guidelines. But for the billions of urban poor, these guidelines aren’t just burdensome; they’re essentially impossible.
More than a billion people live in slums and informal settlements globally. With the rise of urbanisation slums are rising, interestingly.As much as 50-80% of employment is informal in developing cities, from street vendors to minibus drivers to migrant workers. Many of these families are essentially surviving day-to-day, living in dense neighborhoods with unreliable and often shared access to basic services like water, sanitation and electricity. Many don’t have bank accounts, basic employment contracts or insurance. Their incomes and workplaces are not on any government agency’s radar. In short, they lack the resources to survive without defying lockdown orders.
Migrants further have a problem of assimilation in the new city.Migrants offer significant benefits to cities including by assisting in addressing depopulation and ensuring the viability of basic services as well as greater diversity and public relations opportunities.In spite of this they often find in difficult integrate.
The shortcomings of recent social distancing orders are evident in cities like New Delhi, Bangkok, Lagos, Mexico City and Rio de Janeiro, where millions of residents feel their lives have been upended with little protection or access to support. These cities , like Delhi already face many urban problems.
Recognizing and addressing the stark reality of urban inequality is essential for addressing the current pandemic. It can also help cities build back better and more resilient to future crises. Resilience is needed, particularly at this time.
Perhaps situation is dire in India, where a national lockdown with little notice ordered 1.3 billion people to self-isolate for at least 40 days. Between 152-216 million people in India live in dense informal housing, or slums. Sometimes around ten or people live in a single room.How these people can follow social distancing norms is a big question.
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