Watch the full video recording of the CORP webinar on 'Informal Settlements and COVID-19: Water and Sanitation as a Frontline Response', organised by the Scaling City Institutions for India (SCI-FI) at CPR. In this webinar, speakers and presenters contributed towards understanding the aspects of WASH related inequities in informal settlements in South Asian countries and how they are deepened in emergencies like the COVID-19 pandemic.
Urban informal settlements are ubiquitous across the Global South – housing from 24% of the urban population in India to more than 50% in Nepal, Bangladesh, and several African countries. Residents of urban informal settlements perennially contend with insecurities in water and sanitation, housing, and livelihoods. Relying on underprovided and shared infrastructure for water and sanitation and cramped to the hilt within living accommodations, social distancing is an untenable proposition for those in these settlements during the ongoing pandemic. Moreover, the disproportionately lower density of water and sanitation infrastructure, compared to the population density, also constrains the ability of the residents to exercise proper and frequent handwashing. Yet, the epidemiological vulnerabilities of urban informal settlements are not endemic only to the ongoing crisis but have manifested time and time again during epidemics, like the Ebola outbreak.
With the continuing upward trajectory of urbanisation and globalisation facilitating the spread of infectious diseases, governments, planners, practitioners, and researchers must respond with not only emergency measures for immediate relief in informal settlements but also strategies for creating more resilient cities that can effectively prevent and arrest emerging and remerging diseases in the future.
Watch out for upcoming CORP webinars in this new series, Informal Settlements and COVID-19: New Urban WASH Priorities for South Asian Governments, that will bring together researchers and practitioners from across South Asia to deliberate upon the urban Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) sector needs to achieve these dual goals.
Presentations of speakers can be accessed below: