As the virus spreads more widely, and more to the South, more people realize the particular challenges the informal settlements face in the current global crisis. Crowing, lack of public services, inadequate dwellings and violence are pictured in articles all around the word. And also, there have started to appear suggestions, lessons learned, good practices and spaces to share knowledge.
Below what I have found so far. The quotes that summarize the situation, and the links to the more interesting and inspired articles.
Here, “social distancing” means something very different than it does to Europeans or Americans. It is less about the physical space between people than the social space between the rich and poor that means only the privileged can maintain any kind of social isolation.
“But since the lockdown, most private water tankers have refused to come and when one does, it runs out of water fast because the entire locality is experiencing a shortage.”
Isolation is also hard when space is constrained and rooms are often shared
“Coronavirus is scary. We go to bed scared of what is going to happen tomorrow, who is going to be infected. But at least we fall asleep. When you watch your children struggling to sleep on an empty stomach, when they wake you up at 4am asking if it is time to eat yet, then you cannot sleep”
“We’re imposing a curfew because nobody is taking this seriously. Whoever is in the street screwing around or going for a walk will receive a corrective and serve as an example. Better to stay home doing nothing. The message has been given.”
As major donors, international organizations, and national officials move forward with larger-scale responses, they should work closely with the poor and heed the lessons they have already learned and applied themselves.
Policymakers need tailored rather than uniform approaches to tackling COVID-19 in informal settlements
“Staying home is an act of love and respect.” However, social isolation will succeed only if it works hand in hand with social protection.