Dehai News

Slums and lockdowns | Impact of school closures

Posted by: The Conversation Global

Date: Thursday, 21 May 2020


Having ravaged New York, London and other wealthy cities, the coronavirus pandemic is now spreading quickly into some of the poorest places on earth such as urban slums in Brazil and Bangladesh. The standard response of immaculate hygiene and stay-at-home orders won’t work in these precarious urban settlements warn urbanists Robert Muggah and Richard Florida. Food, running water, private toilets, and savings accounts are all scarce in slums, forcing poor people to choose between hunger and sickness - and putting residents at odds with police.

The impact of policy responses to curb the spread of the coronavirus pandemic is expected to last for a long time. One such measure is the closure of schools, which has affected more than 90% of enrolled learners around the world. Imran Rasul, Andrea Smurra and Oriana Bandiera draw on lessons from the 2014-2016 Ebola epidemic in Sierre Leone, where steps were taken to offer girls and young women safe places to go to during the closure of all primary and secondary schools. And Samantha Keppler and Karen Smilowitz explain why schools will have to expand to ensure they’re less crowded.

Catesby Holmes

Religion Editor | International Editor

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A market area in Dhaka, the Bangladeshi capital, crowded with people despite the coronavirus pandemic, May 12, 2020. hmed Salahuddin/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Megacity slums are incubators of disease – but coronavirus response isn’t helping the billion people who live in them

Robert Muggah, Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro (PUC-Rio); Richard Florida, University of Toronto

COVID-19 is spreading fast through not only the world's richest cities but also its poorest, ravaging slum areas where risk factors like overcrowding and poverty accelerate disease transmission.

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Making classrooms, cafeterias and other spaces less crowded will be essential. There are two main ways to do that.

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Imran Rasul, International Growth Centre; Andrea Smurra, International Growth Centre; Oriana Bandiera, London School of Economics and Political Science

Special steps need to be taken to blunt the impact of school closures, particuarly on girls.

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