Weekly Urban News Update
May 15, 2020
In This Update: 
IHC Global Announces Brand-New Weekly Meetings Alert
What Water Infrastructure in Lagos Means for Containing Epidemics
U.S. Embassy Warns of Exponential Growth of COVID-19 in Dar es Salaam 
The Mexican Government Underreporting Coronavirus Deaths in Mexico City
More Than 1,000  Line Up For Food Aid in Geneva
Coronavirus Outbreak in Seoul Raises Risks of Lifting Lockdowns
Upcoming Spotlight Event
In the News And Around the Web
This Week in Photos
IHC Global Announces  Brand-New Weekly Meetings Alert
IHC Global is pleased to announce an exciting new weekly newsletter, dedicated to sharing upcoming online events and webinars.

COVID-19 has changed the way the world meets and exchanges knowledge. During this time, urban practitioners, academics, stakeholders, INGOs, and civil society have been more active than ever in engaging urban questions online. The shift to virtual events has opened the opportunity for more transnational and cross-cultural engagement, as it's become possible to attend events in different time zones and on different continents.

But, it can be difficult to keep track of everything that is happening online. That's why, e very Thursday, beginning Thursday, May 21st, IHC Global will send out a weekly webinar roundup on upcoming virtual events on cities, land and housing, water and sanitation, gender, data and technology, and other critical development areas. 

We would love to hear from you! If you are hosting or would like to advertise a webinar relating to any of the areas above, please reach out here. We would be happy to share your event!
What Water Infrastructure in Lagos Means for Containing Epidemics
Lagos must prioritize its water investment to mitigate epidemics, writes Kunle Aderinokun at This Day. In Nigeria, 55 million people lack access to clean water which means they cannot practice safe hand washing to prevent the spread of disease. Lagos state water infrastructure covers only 40% of its area and poor liquid waste management and saltwater incursions have contaminated much of the supply. In areas not covered, residents are forced to purchase water from tankers and peddlers, who have now increased their prices since the COVID outbreak. Aderinokun urges Lagos to develop a clear water and sanitation strategy to combat diseases going forward, warning that if an air or waterborne epidemic breaks out: "Lagos will be the epicenter and not Wuhan or Lombardy."

Read more here.
U.S. Embassy Warns of Exponential Growth of COVID-19 in Dar es Salaam
The U.S. Embassy in Tanzania has warned that there is a risk of "exponential growth" of COVID-19 cases in Tanzania, despite claims from the Tanzanian government otherwise. The Embassy describes the hospitals in Dar es Salaam as "overwhelmed," and asserts that: "The risk of contracting COVID-19 in Dar es Salaam is extremely high." The Tanzanian government refutes the allegations, but has refused to release official data on the virus since April 29th. Tanzania only recently issued partial lockdown measures and the BBC reports that: "Markets and shopping centers continue to be packed with people." Tanzanian president John Magufuli has exempted churches and mosques from lockdown restrictions and repeatedly urged Tanzanians to attend services to fight COVID.

Read more here.
The Mexican Government is Underreporting Coronavirus Deaths in Mexico City
The Mexican government is underreporting COVID-19 deaths, reports The New York Times. The federal government recorded 700 deaths in Mexico City, but city officials put the number at 2,500. Mexico City Mayor Claudia Scheinbaum has not publicly commented, but her staff has determined that COVID-19 deaths at local hospitals are at least 3x higher than national data. Health officials say the country has "flattened the curve," leading many Mexicans to believe that they have avoided the worst of the virus. One doctor observed: "It's like we doctors are living in two different worlds. One is inside of the hospital with patients dying all the time. And the other is when we walk out onto the streets and see people walking around, clueless of what is going on and how bad the situation is."

Read more here.
More Than 1,000 Line Up for Food Aid in Geneva, Switzerland
More than 1,000 people lined up for food packages in Geneva, Switzerland last weekend, demonstrating the economic impact of COVID-19 in one of the world's wealthiest cities. A survey revealed that food aid recipients largely comprised working-class immigrants, half of whom were undocumented. Patrick Wieland, chief of mission for Doctors Without Borders says that the COVID-19 rate is higher for working-class immigrants in Geneva due to poor and overcrowded housing. He explains: "In Geneva, one of the richest cities in the world, there have always been people living precariously, especially all the people who work as housekeepers, in agriculture, on construction sites or in hotels, and they found themselves overnight without a job because of COVID-19."

Read more here.
Coronavirus Outbreak in Seoul Highlights Challenges of Reopening
A South Korean man's outing to five nightclubs in Seoul two weeks ago is now linked to more than 100 new coronavirus cases. South Korea previously received praise for its containment strategy, but Vox reports, it may now "become the poster child for the dangers of reopening a country." Seoul Mayor Park Won-soon closed all bars and clubs indefinitely at the same time the rest of the country is lifting restrictions. Won-soon has mandated every patron who visited those nightclubs on that weekend get tested or face a $1600 fine. He asserts: "If Seoul falls, so will all of Korea." But, many club-goers may be unwilling to come forward for testing, given that the infection broke out in a neighborhood known to cater to LGBTQ persons, who often face discrimination in South Korea.

Read more here.
The American Academy of Housing and Communities Luncheon

In The News and Around the Web
  • Navajo Nation Reports High Rate of COVID-19 Infections: In the United States, the Navajo Nation has recorded more coronavirus deaths per capita than any U.S. state.
  • Kenyans Told to Pay to Exit Quarantine:  Hundreds of Kenyans say they were held in quarantine for weeks, then told to pay to get out.
  • In the Face of COVID-19, Housing is a Matter of Life and Death UN-Habitat Executive Director Maimunah Mohd Sharif and former UN Special Rapporteur for Housing Leilani Farha urge governments to grapple with hard questions about the global housing system.
This Week in Photos
  • COVID-19 in India's Maximum City: Photographer Atul Loke has tracked coronavirus in Mumbai for the past eight weeks.
Commuters in Mexico City last month, where residents have seen a limited official lockdown. 
(Photo Credit: The New York Times)
The ongoing COVID 19 crisis underscores the vital importance of livable cities and decent living conditions globally. The mobility of diseases within and between urban centers adn across borders is sadly demonstrated by the current pandemic. Now more than ever, we need your financial support and your voice to bring about change. Decent living conditions for one billion people worldwide is a fundamental building block of future resilience and pandemic preparedness.

Please make a contribution, whether small or large, to make a difference for all.
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